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Minutes 5th Meeting

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					Minutes of the Fifth Meeting of the FAO Advisory Group on
Global Forest Resource Assessments
Rome, 17-18 January 2006


1. Introduction
The FAO Advisory Group (AG) on Global Forest Resources Assessments was established in
October 2002 on the recommendation of the expert consultation held in Kotka, Finland in
July 2002. (See www.fao.org/forestry/fra-Kotka4 for details.) It was endorsed by the
Sixteenth Session of the Committee on Forestry (COFO) held in March 2003.

The Advisory Group is a long-term arrangement with meetings anticipated to take place
annually. Members of the Advisory Group serve in their personal capacity, although an effort
is made to ensure representation of important forestry institutions and all regions. The main
tasks of the Group are to review and make recommendations aimed at strengthening existing
institutional networks and to make future forest resources assessments increasingly user-
oriented and demand-driven and more closely linked with other international processes.


2. Attendance at the fifth meeting
AG members

Present                                               Absent
Carlos Bahamondez                                     Steve Johnson
Paul Drichi                                           Timo Karjalainen
Souleymane Gueye                                      Maxim Lobovikov
Rodney Keenan                                         Adrian Newton
Alexander Korotkov                                    Jinhua Zhang
Roman Michalak
Ewald Rametsteiner
Jagdish Kumar Rawat
Ralph Ridder
Harry Santoso
Brad Smith
Tomas Thuresson
Gulusa Vildanova



FAO staff and consultants present

Peter Holmgren, Chief, Forest Resources Development Service
Mette Løyche Wilkie (AG Secretary)
Anne Branthomme
Monica Garzuglia
Kailash Govil
Sebueng Kelatwang
Lars Gunnar Marklund
Hivy Ortiz
Mohamed Saket
In addition the following participated as observers to this meeting: Andrey Filipchuk
(National Correspondent of Russia to FRA 2005) and Lars Laestadius (Team-Leader, Forest
Landscapes Initiative, World Resources Institute).


3. Meeting Objectives
The meeting had following two main objectives:

   To review the process and outcomes of FRA 2005
   To provide guidance on post FRA 2005 activities (Evaluation, Kotka V Expert
    Consultation and FRA 2010)


4. Agenda and Agenda notes
4.1 Agenda item 1: Opening of the meeting and election of co-chairperson
The opening of the meeting was chaired by Rodney Keenan (Chair of the last meeting), who,
on behalf of the AG thanked the FRA Team for working so closely with countries to prepare
the Key Findings of FRA 2005. Peter Holmgren welcomed the AG members and observers to
the fifth meeting of the AG on behalf of FAO and inaugurated the meeting. Mette Wilkie
thanked the AG members and their organisations for their support in the past year – including
financial support from USA, Australia, ITTO and INBAR, secondments from the USA and
Australia, help with organising workshops and thematic studies and technical assistance to
selected countries.

Paul Drichi then took over as the chairperson of the fifth meeting, having been elected Co-
Chair at the last meeting. Brad Smith was elected Co-Chair of this meeting. He informed the
AG that he will be replaced by Mr. Greg Reams, the National Project Leader of the Forest
Inventory and Analysis programme of the USDA Forest Service in future meetings of the AG.
Mr. Reams, in absentia, was elected to serve as chair of the sixth meeting of the AG.

4.2 Agenda item 2: Review of meeting objectives and adoption of the agenda
The AG members reviewed the meeting objectives and adopted the agenda without
modification.

4.3 Agenda item 3. Review of matters arising from the minutes of the last
meeting
Mette Wilkie introduced this item and regretted that, by oversight, the minutes of the last
(fourth) meeting of the AG failed to mention that Paul Drichi was elected as Co-Chair. She
further noted that in line with recommendations made at the previous meeting the following
actions had been undertaken:

       Work has begun to implement the recommendation to undertake a detailed evaluation
        of the FRA 2005 reporting process and the variables included. This would be
        discussed later under a separate agenda item.
       Steps had been taken to increase links with other reporting processes and initiatives
        and would be reported in detail under agenda item 5.
      A self-standing policy brief for FRA 2005 had been prepared (the Key Findings) and
       distributed in six languages
      Discussions had been held regarding a forthcoming Expert Consultation (Kotka V) to
       design FRA 2010 (More details under agenda item 10.)

The minutes were approved with a modification to mention that Mr. Paul Drichi was elected
as co-chair of the fourth AG meeting.

4.4 Agenda item 4. Presentation and discussion of the key findings of FRA
2005
Mette Wilkie presented the key findings of FRA 2005 (summarised below) to the AG group
and expressed her sincere thanks to all the members of the AG, national correspondents,
associated institutions and agencies for their efforts and valuable contributions to FRA 2005.
She also informed the AG that all the country reports and the associated global tables had
been released simultaneously with the Key Findings on 14 November 2005 and are available
on the FAO website (www.fao.org/forestry/fra2005).

    Forests cover 30 percent of the total land area
    Total forest area continues to decrease – but the rate of net loss is slowing down
    Primary forests currently account for about 36 percent of the total forest arae
    Plantation forests are increasing but still account for less than 5 percent of total forest
     area
    There is a wide variation in number of native tree species: from 3 in Iceland to 7 780
     in Brazil
    Forests continue to be a significant carbon sink
    84 percent of the world’s forests are publicly owned, but private ownership is on the
     rise
    Forests are increasingly being managed for a multitude of uses and values
    One-third of the world’s forests are primarily used for production of wood and non-
     wood forest products
    11 percent of the forests are designated primarily for conservation of biological
     diversity
    More than 9 percent of forests are exclusively designated for soil and water
     conservation
    Use of forests for recreation and education is increasing
    About 10 million people are engaged in forest conservation and management
    The value of wood removals is decreasing in real terms
    The value of NWFPs is increasing but is currently underestimated

The AG members congratulated the FRA team for having successfully carried out the FRA
2005 process within the established timeframe. A short discussion followed where the FRA
team responded to queries made by the AG members.
Monica Garzuglia concluded this agenda item with a brief presentation of a working paper
under preparation that explains the major differences between FRA 2005 and FRA 2000 with
respect to forest area and forest area change.

Mette Wilkie then briefed the AG members on the synthesis chapter in the FRA 2005 report
which integrates country information along six thematic areas and attempts to analyse
progress towards sustainable forest management at global, regional and sub-regional levels
using the below selected variables:

Thematic element             FRA 2005 variables or derivatives used in Synthesis report
                             Area of forest
Extent of forest             Area of other wooded land
resources                    Growing stock of forests
                             Carbon stock per hectare in forest biomass
                             Area of primary forest
                             Area of forest designated primarily for conservation of
Biological diversity
                             biodiversity
                             Total forest area excluding area of productive plantation forests
                             Area of forest affected by fire
Forest health and vitality
                             Area of forest affected by insects, disease and other disturbances
                             Area of forest designated primarily for production
                             Area of productive plantation forests
Productive functions of
                             Commercial growing stock
forest resources
                             Total wood removals
                             Total NWFP removals
Protective functions of      Area of forest designated primarily for protection
forest resources             Area of protective plantation forests
                             Value of total wood removals
                             Value of total NWFP removals
Socio-economic
                             Total employment
functions
                             Area of forest under private ownership
                             Area of forest designated primarily for social services

Peter Holmgren explained the methodology applied for the synthesis assessment. He also
presented two graphs to demonstrate that alternative ways of weighting the data provide
different perspectives (e.g. forest area and poverty) which in turn may lead to different policy
interventions.

The AG members congratulated the FRA Team for this innovative analysis, which provided
added value to the FRA 2005 results. They expressed a wish to simplify the presentation
related to the weighting of data. This recommendation would be taken into account when
finalising the report.

4.5 Agenda item 5. Dissemination of FRA 2005 results

Key Findings and the FRA Website
Mette Wilkie informed the AG members that the Key Findings were released on November
14, 2005 at a press conference held at FAO HQ in Rome and that, simultaneously, press
releases with a regional focus were issued through FAO’s regional offices and UNECE.
The response to the release of the key findings of FRA 2005 was, in general, excellent and the
press releases were widely picked up, ensuring a much better dissemination than originally
anticipated. Furthermore, the timing of the release coincided with the meetings of the two
main governing bodies of FAO (the FAO Council and the FAO Conference) which facilitated
the dissemination of the results to FAO member governments.

Sebueng Kelatwang complemented the above by informing the AG members that almost all
the key international and national news agencies covered the release of the key findings and
that more than 200 responses were recorded from all over the world within the first 2 days of
the release.

Alexander Korotkov informed the AG that the UNECE release of the key findings was
implemented through news agencies, the UNECE web site and an issue of the Timber Branch
Newsletter (www.unece.org/trade/timber - Issue number 9, October – December 2005). The
press release at the UNECE website has been visited about 1500 times and the Timber Branch
publication about 6000 times.

The FRA 2005 Website (www.fao.org/forestry/fra2005) with the key findings, press releases,
global tables, country tables and all the country reports was made accessible to the general
public at the time of the release of the key findings. Lars Gunnar Marklund gave a brief
presentation of the Website to the AG members.

The FRA 2005 main report
Peter Holmgren informed the AG members that the FRA 2005 main report will be published
as part of the Forestry Paper series of FAO with the subtitle: Progress towards sustainable
forest management. The main report is scheduled to be released in February 2006 during the
UNFF-6 session in New York.

The main report was prepared by a team of FAO staff and consultants and was reviewed
internally (Service Chiefs and above plus all senior regional forestry officers) before
finalisation. AG members suggested that the draft report should have been provided to them
and NCs for review before publication. There was a general consensus that although an
external review of the main report would have been desirable, it was not feasible this time due
to the time constraints. An external review of the main report by AG members and/or
representatives of major forest countries should however be considered for the future.
Comments from AG members during the present meeting would be taken into account when
finalising the report.

Regional Forestry Commissions
Mette Wilkie informed the AG members that FRA 2005 results will also be presented in the
Regional Forestry Commission meetings which are all to be held during the first half of 2006
(except for the North American Forestry Commission due in October 2006). The feedback
from these meetings will be considered by the next Expert Consultation (Kotka V). In
addition, FRA 2005 results will also be disseminated through articles in FAO Unasylva and
international journals.

Thematic Reports
She then informed the AG on the progress of the seven thematic reports that will complement
the FRA 2005 main report. All reports are expected to meet their scheduled delivery targets.
Thematic Report                        Progress made as of January 15, 2006
Bamboo                                 First draft is ready
Forest and Water                       First draft is ready
Forest Fire                            Draft is under final editing
Forest Ownership                       Draft is under final editing
Forest Pests                           Under compilation
Mangroves                              First draft is ready
Planted Forests                        Under compilation

FRA 2005 and other reporting processes
FRA 2005 has linkages to several other international reporting processes. The key findings
have been presented at several international events, and the results are expected to be widely
used by other processes. The AG members were briefed by the following:

Lars Gunnar Marklund                 Presentation of the FRA 2005 findings related to carbon and
                                     climate change at the UNFCCC COP-11.
Mette Wilkie                         Presentation of the FRA 2005 findings related to biological
                                     diversity at the CBD-SBSTA meeting. Information on
                                     collaboration on biodiversity information with CBD and
                                     IUCN
Kailash Govil                        Information on the CBD 2010 Biodiversity Indicators
                                     Partnership; UNEP (GEO 4 report) and a source book on
                                     forest monitoring with the World Bank
Roman Michalak                       Information on FRA 2005 and the MCPFE
Peter Holmgren                       Information on the input to the MDG process

The presentations demonstrated an increasing use of FRA 2005 information and need for
FRA to fine-tune its specifications to service growing demands for forest-related information
by international processes and organisations.

4.6 Agenda item 6. Wrap-up and Review of programme for the following day
The chairman summarised the issues presented and discussed during the day and reviewed the
programme for the following day. There were no suggestions for changes to the programme
for the following day.

4.7 Agenda item 7. Evaluation of FRA 2005

Data availability
A presentation by Kailash Govil informed the AG members about the large variation in the
availability and the quality of the information provided by the countries to FRA 2005. At the
global level, the average weighted (area basis) data year for FRA 2005 is around the year
2000 with 65 percent from field inventories, 32 percent from remote sensing surveys alone
and the remaining 3 percent based on expert estimates). The 229 country reports show that
different methods were used to provide information for the three reference points (1990, 2000
and 2005) of FRA 2005. Specifically, about 47 percent of the country reports used linear
inter- and extra-polation methods, 27 percent assumed no change, 14 percent used models, 10
percent used past deforestation rates and only 2 percent used regression analysis based on
time series.
Lessons learnt
Sebueng Kelatwang briefed the AG members on the lessons learnt during the FRA 2005
process based on an internal evaluation made by the FRA secretariat. It focused on three
aspects (a) organization and management of FRA 2005, (b) implementation process, and (c)
scope of the assessment. It revealed that FAO was very successful in ensuring an active
country participation throughout the FRA 2005 reporting process, evidenced by the more than
800 persons including 172 officially nominated national correspondents that have contributed
to the process.

Despite a time consuming capacity building and dialogue with the countries, the final report
will be delivered on time. However, some initial problems were encountered regarding the
nomination of NCs and financial constraints impacted on partnership with national
institutions and some key activities such as the proposed independent remote sensing.
Insufficient institutional capacity and resources at the national level in most of the developing
countries had a negative impact on data availability and quality. This was further complicated
by the change of NCs in several countries.

The scope and content of the assessment (15 national reporting tables and 40 main variables,
including several new ones with information requested for three points in time) seem to have
worked well, although some variables may need fine-tuning.

Finally, the evaluation indicates the need for the following for future FRAs:

   (a) Establishment of a national task force of key stakeholders should be promoted.
   (b) There should be an alternate for every officially nominated NC
   (c) Development of thematic reports should begin before preparation of the country
       reports, so the results from the thematic studies can be integrated in the country reports
       and the main report
   (d) More time should be assigned for review/analysis
   (e) The reporting process should be further simplified where possible
   (f) Further clarification of definitions is needed for selected variables
   (g) Prioritization of support to countries based on availability of data and deforestation
       rates

Discussion
AG members concurred with most of the findings and then discussed the issue of a much
broader evaluation of FRA 2005. They made the following suggestions for further
consideration.

   (a) Classify tables for which data are easily available and for which there are difficulties
       (like Table 3, 4, 13 and 14) to provide targeted support
   (b) Any proposed changes to content and design should bear in mind that many countries
       have made additional investments in order to provide information according to the
       FRA 2005 variables. Such changes should, therefore, be kept at an absolute minimum.
   (c) Provide more support to countries through training, workshop web etc.
   (d) Schedule more time for data analysis, report writing and review by NCs and AG
   (e) Continuity and Process should be main themes for the Kotka V meeting
   (f) Kotka should also discuss the FRA 2005 evaluation and user survey, the method for
       further elaborating the synthesis assessment and an independent remote sensing for
       FRA 2010.
The AG requested the FRA Secretariat to finalise the proposed questionnaires to be sent to
national correspondents, other contributors to FRA 2005 and to potential users of the
information contained in FRA 2005 – and to send these to the members for comments.

4.8 Agenda item 8. Support to National Forest Assessment (NFA)
Mohamed Saket informed the AG members about progress of the support to NFAs. Work has
been completed in five countries, is in progress in three countries and proposals from two
countries are in pipeline. In addition there are requests for six country level NFAs and three
integrated sub-regional level NFAs, which are currently under consideration. The AG
members supported this initiative of FAO and suggested its planned expansion ensuring that
country commitments such as these do not end up in one time efforts.

4. 9 Agenda item 9. FRA 2010 and remote sensing
Kailash Govil and Anne Branthomme informed the AG members about the current concept
and proposed design of an independent remote sensing component for FRA 2010. (See
background document for details.) They noted a possible partnership with UNEP and the
University of South Dakota among others and that, in addition to validation and
complementing country information, the remote sensing component will provide estimates of
forest degradation, fragmentation and deforestation global level and regional levels with some
information also at national level. The AG discussed the proposal and suggested that it be
further developed and included for consideration at the Kotka V meeting. The group also
suggested that links with NFAs and ongoing national forest inventories e.g. in industrialised
countries should be explored and highlighted.

4.10. Agenda item 10. Kotka V (Expert Consultation)
Hivy Ortiz Chour informed the AG members that Finland has kindly offered to host and co-
sponsor an Expert Consultation to be held in Kotka, Finland focused on the design of the next
global FRA (FRA 2010). This will be fifth expert consultation supported by METLA,
Finland, hence called Kotka V. The AG members were also briefed on the preparatory
meeting held in Rome on 23 of November 2005 with the Finnish authorities in which the
following was agreed upon:
A. Main objectives of the Expert Consultation
 To evaluate FRA 2005: country reporting process, variables, information gaps, network of country
    correspondents, dissemination of results;
 To assess the need for implementing an independent study using remote sensing as complementary tool to
    validate some of the estimates at regional and global levels (primarily forest area and changes over time)
    and to gather information on forest area change dynamics.
 To enhance collaboration with other forestry related reporting processes and organizations.
 To provide guidance for FRA 2010 (process and content).

B. Venue and Date
The consultation will take place during the week of 11-16 June 2006 (5 working days) at the College of Forestry
and Wood Technology, Kotka, Finland.

C. Organisation
The meeting will be organized by FAO/METLA/UNECE. FAO will contact CPF members and other
institutions that may be interested in participating and/or collaborating on the organization of the meeting.

D. Participants
A maximum of 80 experts will be invited including resource persons. Invitees will be requested to participate in
their personal capacities and not representing their country or institution. They include about 40 national
delegates, members of the AG, about 20 representatives from international organizations, academia and NGOs,
and members of the FRA/UNECE Secretariat.
Each of the above items was discussed by the AG. The AG suggested the inclusion of a
provision for presentations by countries and organisations, interested in doing so e.g. in the
evenings.

The AG member also suggested that background documents should include information on
the following for detailed consideration at the Kotka,

   Results of the FRA 2005 evaluation
   Process for FRA 2010, including networking among NCs
   Suggested scope and content of FRA 2010 (specification of variables related to the seven
    thematic elements of SFM and incorporating reporting requirements from other forestry-
    related processes as far as possible)
   Independent Remote Sensing component
   Development of Thematic Reports
   Beyond FRA 2010, future reporting intervals, etc.

The AG requested that the FRA Secretariat develop a detailed draft agenda to be circulated to
members for comments together with a list of participants incorporating the proposed
changes.

4.11. Agenda item 11. Next meeting of the AG
The AG members decided that the next meeting of the AG should be organised between the
Kotka V expert consultation and COFO 2007. There was consensus among AG members that
November 2006 might be good time for the next meeting of the AG.

4.12 Agenda 12. Future composition and role of the Advisory Group (closed
session)
The AG members in their closed session deliberated on the future composition of the AG. All
the members present expressed their willingness to continue. They were of the opinion that
replacements may be considered for some of those members who have not been participating
in recent meetings for various reasons. It was decided to invite WRI and UNEP-WCMC to
nominate a member of the AG each and for Russia to become a full member once the country
has finalised the process of becoming a member of FAO. New members should, as far as
possible, have expertise in fields, which may be lacking in the current composition given the
broad focus of future global forest resources assessments. The possibilities to ensure that the
major forestry countries are represented in the AG should also be taken into consideration
when searching for replacements.

4.13 Agenda 13. Closing of the meeting
The chairperson thanked the AG members and the FRA secretariat for their support and
closed the meeting.

				
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