Bioversity International scientists organized and participated in side events associated with two significant meetings at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO).
The last week of June, Bioversity International researchers joined colleagues from Burkina Faso, Malaysia and Norway in a side event of the 22nd meeting of the Committee on Forestry (COFO 22) at FAO. The aim of the event was to describe current activities at the national, regional and international levels that can serve as models for the implementation of one or more of the 27 Strategic Priorities of the Global Plan of Action which is based on the findings of the recently published first-ever report on the State of the World’s Forest Genetic Resources.
Attended by delegates from more than 100 countries, including heads of forestry ministries and services, COFO 22 was a unique opportunity to share inspiring examples in the side event which was sponsored by Norway. The seed management, distribution and conservation at the National Tree Seed Centre in Burkina Faso is one such example, as is the successful integration of forest genetic resources in the national forest programme in Malaysia. Bioversity scientists, Jarkko Koskela and Judy Loo, described current networking and collaboration arrangements at regional and international levels, the European Forest Genetic Resources Programme and the Global Timber Tracking Network. All of these examples illustrate how Strategic Priorities of the Global Plan of Action are already being implemented in specific instances and provide models for others.
As Judy Loo, who contributed to development of the report, stated, "COFO 22 is the setting to start acting on the Global Plan of Action, because only once every two years do we get the opportunity to interact with the heads of forest services and other senior government officials from around the world, as well as representatives of major NGOs and other international bodies, to discuss key policy and technical issues related to forests."
"A number of the priorities for action that are laid out in the Global Plan of Action are directly relevant to Bioversity International’s forest research. If the plan were to be fully implemented in the countries where we work, it would accomplish much – if not everything – that we promote. Our long-term vision is of a world where forest genetic resources are valued, used sustainably and conserved. This is completely in step with the Global Plan of Action," said Judy Loo.
The second FAO event, the meeting of the Intergovernmental Technical Working Group on Forest Genetic Resources (ITWGFGR) took place from 7 to 9 July at FAO. Delegates discussed in more detail what it will take to implement and monitor progress of the Global Plan of Action.
Bioversity International’s side event highlighted three of the thematic studies that were prepared under our coordination to support the preparation of the report, namely Genetic considerations in ecosystem restoration using native tree species, The role of forest genetic resources in adaptation to biotic and abiotic factors in a changing climate and Indicators of forest genetic diversity, erosion and vulnerability. The latter two will be made available on the FAO and Bioversity International websites within the next few months.
Bioversity International researchers contributed in various ways to development of the report and anticipate continued close partnership with FAO to facilitate the implementation of the Global Plan of Action.
Photo: Judy Loo, Silje Trollstøl, Douglas McGuire and Sina Sibidou at COFO 22.