On August 30, 2004, Mr. Hosny El-Lakany, Assistant Director-General, Forestry Department, FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) and Ms. Maureen O’Neil, President of the International Development Research Centre, on behalf of the IMFNS, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen links and collaboration in a number of technical fields, including sustainable forest management (SFM) practices, watershed management, national forest programmes, and participatory forestry.
“With shared mandates to enhance SFM around the world, this agreement is a natural fit for both our organizations,” said Peter Besseau, IMFNS’s Executive Director. “What this MoU does is formalize an already well-established relationship, particularly in Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC) and in Asia. Hopefully, we’ll be able to use the MoU to continue to strengthen program ties in ways that support advancing SFM on the ground.”
FAO’s collaboration with the IMFNS dates back to 1997 when a Task Group, that included FAO, was formed during the World Forestry Congress in Turkey, to look at options for further developing the network.
The FAO has, among other activities, led the development of model forests in the Asia―Pacific region from 1999―2003, through project funding from the Government of Japan. It is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Regional Model Forest Centre for Latin America and the Caribbean, has provided technical assistance, through its Technical Cooperation Program (TCP), to the Jujuy Model Forest to undertake a pilot demonstration project for the sustainable management of the Pericos-Manantiales Watershed, and is on the planning committee to select a site in Cameroon for the first pilot model forest in Africa. As well, since March 2004, the FAO has been a non-voting member of the IMFNS Board of Directors.