KKL-JNF at United Nations Committee of Forestry Conference

Monday, August 11, 2014 3:40 PM

KKL-JNF represents Israel at COFO22 in Rome.

KKL-JNF Chief Forester David Brand represented Israel at the 22nd conference of the United Nations Committee on Forestry (COFO22), which took place in Rome, Italy on June 23-27. COFO is the highest forestry statutory body of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).

David Brand at COFO 22. Photo: Courtesy of David Brand

The biennial sessions of COFO bring together heads of forest services and other senior government officials to discuss the state of the world's forests, identify emerging policy and technical issues, to seek solutions and to advise FAO and others on appropriate action.

KKL-JNF Chief Forester David Brand represented Israel and KKL-JNF at the conference. KKL-JNF's participation at the conference was both important and valuable. For the first time, KKL-JNF was granted official recognition by COFO and was recognized at COFO22 as the representative of the state of Israel that is responsible for Israel's forests and afforestation. COFO22 provided KKL-JNF with an opportunity to showcase its diverse professional achievements and internationally acclaimed expertise.

Photo: Courtesy of David Brand

Parallel to COFO22, World Forest Week took place for the fourth time. World Forest Week is comprised of a series of meetings and events sponsored by FAO and its partner organizations and institutions. It provides an opportunity for sharing state-of-the-art knowledge and major accomplishments and achievements in the field of forestry. On the last day of the conference, there was a special session of the Silva Mediterranea organization, which discussed activities planned for this year and next year. Silva Mediterranea is the only international forum dedicated to Mediterranean forest issues in which representatives of the Mediterranean countries from the African Forestry and Wildlife Commission, the European Forestry Commission and the Near East Forestry Commission can meet, share experiences and establish cooperative programs. Twenty eight countries are members of this organization, including Israel.

David Brand meets with forestry professionals from other countries. Photo: Courtesy of David Brand

In the course of the conference, David Brand met with senior forestry officials from around the world, including from the United States, Turkey and Spain, among others. These meetings advanced future cooperation between Israel and various other countries, including mutual visits between forestry experts and professionals from Israel and abroad.  Drylands Forestry Officer Nora Berrahmouni expressed her desire to participate at the next Desertification Conference in Israel and to see KKL-JNF's achievements in this field.

Twenty-five policy papers were presented at the conference, including documents entitled "State of the World's Forest 2014 – Enhancing the socioeconomic benefits from forests" and "Enhancing FAO Work on Dryland Forests". KKL-JNF submitted two documents relating to these topics.  In the first document, David Brand noted that "the primary goal of forestry in Israel is to provide a variety of ecosystem services to its citizens, recognizing that human existence and wellbeing are dependent upon biological diversity and those services provided by forests. It is our belief that Israel, having developed advanced techniques and extensive experience in the last 40 years, especially in the area of dryland forests, in comparison to other European countries, has the opportunity to serve as a model for other countries facing similar problems in the aspects of adaptation to climate threats and desertification processes."

The high-level exposure KKL-JNF received at COFO22 will hopefully lead to a number of future events, including a side event at COFO23 and a PowerPoint display of KKL-JNF's work at the central plenary sessions; KKL-JNF participation at World Forest Week 5 in Barcelona in March 2015; KKL-JNF participation in the 11th United Nations Annual Forestry Forum in New York in May 2015; the Durban World Forestry Congress in September 2015; and at COF12 - the UN Conference on Combating Desertification in Turkey in October 2015.