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Sixty-five years of UNECE/FAO cooperation in forest monitoring

Published: 18 October 2013

Assessing the health and wealth of the natural capital has always gone hand in hand with planning for resource management and use. Since the creation of the United Nations, the Economic Commission for Europe and the Food and Agriculture Organization have worked together to monitor forest resources in the pan-European region.

In the early years, this was done in the context of post-war recovery to “secure increased supplies of wood products (...) so that houses and resources may be available for Europe's homeless thousands. Economies immediate consumption and fair distribution of available supplies are factors which are being applied to this end” (Norris E. Dodd, FAO Director General, 1949-1955).

Today, “obtaining reliable information on our resources is increasingly a key factor in planning for the future of an overcrowded planet’, said Paola Deda, Chief of the UNECE/FAO Forestry and Timber Section, at the opening of an UNECE/FAO two-day meeting of national correspondents for the pan-European and Mediterranean region on 16 October. “Our joint work in the pan-European region on monitoring and assessing forest resources has through the years been providing an essential basis for policy development and for addressing the contemporary challenges of sustainable forest management”.

Since the start of what is now called the Forest Resources Assessment (the first such report was published in 1948), FAO and UNECE have cooperated to support countries in Europe. A wide variety of methods and means have been applied for collecting, analysing and disseminating information over the last 65 years. Each of them always relied on the close cooperation between the two organizations and the member States.

The Forest Resources Assessment 2015 is no exception. On the contrary, it now counts on even stronger cooperation between UNECE and FAO, as well as other organizations, developed through the establishment of the Collaborative Forest Resources Reporting (CFRQ)—a new mechanism that should further facilitate the input from regional organizations and initiatives to the global assessment.

Data collected in a harmonized way satisfy at the same time the needs of the regional CFRQ partners: the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), Forest Europe, UNECE, the Observatory of Central African Forests (OFAC) and the Montréal Process. 

The mechanism facilitates the collection and supports countries in the provision of national data. For that purpose, UNECE/FAO Geneva, in cooperation with FAO Rome, provides assistance to 55 countries of Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia directly, and through six regional reviewers. It organized this workshop in Geneva, and supported the participation of 10 countries from Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. The workshop continues a series of events jointly organized by UNECE and FAO in Poland in 2004 and Hungary in 2009.

For more information on the meetings and the pan-European forest monitoring programme, please contact:

Roman Michalak
Forestry Officer
Forest Resources Assessment
UNECE/FAO Forestry and Timber Section Geneva
Phone +41 (0)22 917 2879
Email: roman.michalak@unece.org

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

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