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COFO 2010 Calls for 360 Degree Perspective on Forests

8 October 2010: The 20th session of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) Committee on Forestry (COFO 2010), which convened from 4-8 October 2010, at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy, was dominated by calls for an inter-sectoral approach to address problems facing forests.

COFO participants also urged a “360 degree” perspective that takes into consideration the multiple functions and services that forests provide. In plenary sessions held throughout the week, participants discussed, inter alia: forest biodiversity, fire and water in the context of climate change; the Global Forest Resources Assessment; emerging opportunities and challenges in forest finance and forest governance; and preparations for the International Year of Forests (IYF) 2011. In the discussions on planned activities for the IYF, Jan McAlpine, Director, UN Forum on Forests (UNFF), said “Forests 2011” should be a celebration of the positive things related to forests and their role for people, highlighting biodiversity, climate and health. She explained that the UNFF, as the focal point for the UN system during IYF, will be working closely with the Secretariats of the Rio Conventions, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), and major groups, as well as artists and filmmakers.

COFO 2010 adopted a final report, which includes requests to FAO to: assist countries in valuing the potential contribution of forests in climate change adaptation and mitigation; strengthen its capacity to share information related to biodiversity conservation in the context of climate change; and continue efforts to develop a report on the state of the world's forest genetic resources. On forests and water in the context of climate change, the Committee recommended that countries intensify work in this area and pay increased attention to socioeconomic issues related to forests and water and financing mechanisms, such as payments for ecosystem services, and recommended that FAO continue to review critical related issues and facilitate information exchange.

In parallel to the meeting and throughout the week, many special events were held as part of the second “World Forest Week.” These events included panel discussions on, inter alia: phytosanitary standards; new developments in forest finance; linking policy dialogue and implementation; forest governance; reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing couuntries, and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks (REDD+); and Growing Forest Partnerships. [IISD RS Coverage of COFO 2010] [COFO 2010 Website]