The UNECE/FAO Forestry & Timber Section has served as a trusted source of information, data and analysis about the forest sector in the UNECE region for more than 60 years. It also provides a forum for policy discussion about major issues that affect the forest sector. The section is unique in that it is a joint UNECE/FAO secretariat, servicing the UNECE Committee on Forests and the Forest Industry and the FAO European Forestry Commission and working closely with other members of the United Nations family and with country stakeholders. It operates to a mandate agreed by the 56 countries, which together comprise the UNECE region, stretching from North America to the Russian Federation and Central Asia. Its priorities and activities are presented in its Strategic Plan.
Working with FAO, the Section plays a pivotal role in the regular assessment of the state of forests in the pan-European region and contributes to the periodic global Forest Resources Assessment . In addition, the section’s work with Forest Europe allows a regular critical assessment of the health and sustainability of Europe’s forests, using criteria and indicators drawn up by the countries active in the Forest Europe process. The results are published in the State of Europe’s Forests report.
The Section is also active in the field of forest policies and institutions, recognized as an integral part of sustainable forest management. These activities include information collection, analysis and dissemination, monitoring of developments, analysis of trends and capacity building. The Section addresses important cross-sectoral aspects of relevance to the forest sector, notably related to climate change mitigation and adaptation, bioenergy, biodiversity, land use, water and agriculture. For instance, the Section works to improve the knowledge and understanding of wood energy sources and uses, in particular by collecting data on wood energy in member countries through the Joint Wood Energy Enquiry, and promotes the sustainable use of wood for energy.
The Section’s work compiling market and, to a lesser extent, price data for forest products throughout the region, feeds into the prestigious Forest Products Annual Market Review, which appears every autumn and forms the basis for market discussions during the annual session of the Committee on Forests and the Forest Industry. As well as providing an overview of the changing state of markets, the review sets out to understand the forces that are shaping the timber market and to examine future directions. Underlying all of this is a comprehensive database that provides a unique historical perspective.
A core part of the UNECE/FAO forest and timber programme from the early 1950s has also been the publication of long-term forest sector outlook studies. The latest European Forest Sector Outlook Study (EFSOS II) comprises scenarios addressing main policy issues on climate change mitigation, wood energy promotion, biodiversity preservation and industrial innovation for the period 2010-2030. EFSOS II is being used in many circles as a basis for policy formulation and analysis. This brief introduction can give you only a flavour of the work that the UNECE/FAO Forestry & Timber undertakes.
The website presents a more detailed picture of the work, its significance and the way in which the data and information from the UNECE/FAO Forestry & Timber Section may be used.
The UNECE Committee on Forests and the Forest Industry (COFFI) and the FAO European Forestry Commission (EFC) work together to strengthen the forest sector and its contribution to Sustainable Development in Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and North America through their integrated programme of work.
The UNECE and the FAO Forestry Department jointly provide the secretariat team to implement the programme.
The UNECE Committee on Forests and the Forest Industry and the FAO European Forestry Commission consists of the office-holders, i.e. Chairperson and Vice-Chairs as well as the Chair of the Joint FAO/UNECE Working Party on Forest Statistics, Economics and Management.
The bureaux is charged with monitoring the implementation of the UNECE/FAO programme of work. It meets jointly once or twice annually to give strategic consideration and guidance to the Secretariat on particular issues of the work programme, often in advance preparation of the session of the Committee on Forests and the Forest Industry (annual) and the European Forestry Commission (biannual).
For a list of members and meetings, please click here.
Paola Deda, Chief
UNECE/FAO Forestry & Timber Section