July 20, 2016, Rome, Italy—The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and International Model Forest Network (IMFN) Secretariat have agreed to strengthen cooperation to realize shared goals around innovative approaches to sustainable forest management (SFM) and conservation including shared governance of natural resources between all stakeholders at the landscape level.
An agreement was signed today by Mr. René Castro Salazar, Assistant Director-General of FAO Forestry and Mr. Glenn Mason, Assistant Deputy Minister, Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan)-Canadian Forest Service representing the IMFN Secretariat, which is housed within NRCan. An important area of collaboration focuses on the restoration of forested landscapes (FLR) which in turn contributes to climate change adaptation and mitigation and to improving the livelihood of forest dependant people. Both organisations will be sharing lessons learned for integration into national policy frameworks. The agreement was signed on the margins of COFO, FAO’s Committee on Forestry.
“This new agreement sets the stage for much closer cooperation that will strengthen our support to FAO member countries in their efforts to sustainably manage their forests and achieve goals related to the SDGs, Bonn Challenge and other global commitments,” said Mr. Salazar. “We are confident that joining forces will allow for common efforts in several areas of cooperation, including forest and landscape restoration, to be even more effective.”
Collaboration between the IMFN and FAO began in 1999 when FAO’s Asia-Pacific Regional Office led on establishment of the first Model Forests in that region. Since that time the organizations have collaborated on the production of case studies, joint side events and other ad hoc initiatives. The agreement outlines a more deliberate and systemic approach to the relationship.
“Seventeen years ago, IMFN and FAO were together forging a path on what has since become widely accepted in forest policy circles today—the great value of landscape level approaches to sustainable forest and resource management based on inclusive governance structures,” said Mr. Mason. “The IMFN looks forward to strengthening its collaboration with FAO. With this MOU we can take a more systematic approach to structuring that collaboration and to focus on concrete outcomes that benefit stakeholders in their efforts to achieve landscape sustainability.”
FLR is an important area for future collaborative opportunities between the two organisations with both being active in Asia, Africa and Latin America. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the 20x20 Initiative—in which 20 million hectares of forests will be brought into restoration by 2020—may be especially promising with 11 Model Forests participating in that effort.