March 12, 2004: Headlines: COS - Thailand: Diplomacy: Forestry: US Embassy in Italy: U.S. ambassador and RPCV Tony Hall: National forest programmes as a mechanism to implement the key outcomes of the WFS

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U.S. ambassador and RPCV Tony Hall: National forest programmes as a mechanism to implement the key outcomes of the WFS

U.S. ambassador and RPCV Tony Hall: National forest programmes as a mechanism to implement the key outcomes of the WFS

U.S. ambassador and RPCV Tony Hall: National forest programmes as a mechanism to implement the key outcomes of the WFS

Agenda Item 7: National forest programmes as a mechanism to implement the key outcomes of the WFS:fyl and WSSD

Statement by U.S. Ambassador Tony Hall

March 12, 2003

The United States applauds FAO’s efforts to facilitate the development of national forest programs for member countries to further the key outcomes of the World Food Summit and the World Summit on Sustainable Development. We feel that it is very important for FAO to help countries develop consensus at the national level in the context of sustainable development, recognizing the full range of economic, social and environmental benefits of forests.

There is no question that there is a connection between forestry and food security, trees and hunger. I have seen the environmental devastation born of poverty. Desperate people do desperate things. I have seen soil erosion in Haiti so bad that the ocean was brown because all the trees were gone. I have visited Ethiopia half a dozen times – a country that used to be 50 percent forested three generations ago and now less than five percent of its area is covered with trees. On my trips to North Korea, I have seen a barren countryside because they have chopped down all the trees for fuel. I have been to refugee camps where there isn’t a tree for miles because of their need for fuel and shelter. Loss of forests and trees has compromised the land base for agriculture, increasing hunger.

In addition to the link between forestry and food security, forests are a source of wealth and power. Forests and their illegal logging often fuel conflict. After a visit to Sierra Leone when I was a Member of Congress, I became involved in trying to stop the trade in conflict diamonds that had financed their terrible civil war. Just as with diamonds, there are numerous reports, including this year’s "State of the World’s Forests," that detail a link between illegal logging, corruption and conflict.

Sustainable forest management is understood to be an essential element of sustainable development and critical to alleviating poverty. By reducing deforestation and halting the loss of biodiversity, we can enhance food security, along with access to safe drinking water and affordable energy.

We endorse the recommendations that the national forest programs be used as a process to advance the practical use of Criteria and Indicators (C&I) as part of national planning and resource assessment strategies.

Specifically, we would like to see the report of this meeting: (1) recognize that C&I have many applications including as a framework for facilitating and monitoring the effectiveness of national forest programs and other policy frameworks, (2) recognize that national forest programs and C&I are mutually supportive instruments and (3) encourage countries to integrate C&I into national forest programs and policies and other processes related to sustainable development in order to inform decision makers on the state of and important changes in forests and the linkage between these changes and actions in other sectors.

The United States is looking forward to the release of our 2003 National Report on Sustainability this summer, which will be made available at leading international forest meetings such as the World Forestry Congress in Canada in September. The U.S. development process was based on the major agreement of the private sector, NGOs, communities and the national government in writing the report – one which represents the views of local, State and Federal levels of society and government.

The national forest program process is a useful tool for many countries that strive to achieve reasonable forest management goals within the context of national sustainable development strategies, especially as they work to alleviate hunger and poverty in their countries.

We support FAO’s emphasis on the concept of national forest programs as effective policy and process tools, while respecting the diverse frameworks of each country to determine relevant and country-specific implementation tools.

We applaud FAO’s efforts to inform the national forest policy debate by improving the availability of information and knowledge relevant to forests and trees. In addition, a strong focus on increasing networking and partnerships, building capacity and improving donor cooperation will complement and leverage existing national government and private sector financing for forests.

The United States would also recommend that FAO do two things to support national forest programs further:

1. Strengthen your role as an informed neutral forum, not content to simply play to the lowest common denominator. By using your strengths in research and analysis, you can assist countries beset by various problems related to their forests.
2. Enhance your support for greater local community influence over their assets and destiny. Your Community Forestry Unit has done an exemplary job in pursuing this goal and should continue its good work, now that it is integrated in the Forestry Department.

Finally, let me conclude with a positive example of what the United States is doing to promote sustainable forestry and the connection to improved food security. Six months ago, Secretary of State Colin Powell announced the Congo Basin Forest Partnership at WSSD. The United States has committed more than $50 million to work in partnership with six Central African governments, other donors, conservation and business groups and civil society. This partnership is designed to create and manage protected forest areas, as well as prevent illegal logging and provide more sustainable forest-based livelihoods.

Thank you and a special thanks to the U.S. Forest Service for the great work they do in my country.

When this story was prepared, here was the front page of PCOL magazine:

This Month's Issue: August 2004 This Month's Issue: August 2004
Teresa Heinz Kerry celebrates the Peace Corps Volunteer as one of the best faces America has ever projected in a speech to the Democratic Convention. The National Review disagreed and said that Heinz's celebration of the PCV was "truly offensive." What's your opinion and who can come up with the funniest caption for our Current Events Funny?

Exclusive: Director Vasquez speaks out in an op-ed published exclusively on the web by Peace Corps Online saying the Dayton Daily News' portrayal of Peace Corps "doesn't jibe with facts."

In other news, the NPCA makes the case for improving governance and explains the challenges facing the organization, RPCV Bob Shaconis says Peace Corps has been a "sacred cow", RPCV Shaun McNally picks up support for his Aug 10 primary and has a plan to win in Connecticut, and the movie "Open Water" based on the negligent deaths of two RPCVs in Australia opens August 6. Op-ed's by RPCVs: Cops of the World is not a good goal and Peace Corps must emphasize community development.

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Story Source: US Embassy in Italy

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Thailand; Diplomacy; Forestry



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