IFFA make an impact
IFFA has continued to mange an impart when participating in many events, IFFA chair, Peter deMarsh said when presenting the IFFA activities and achievements in 2017. His report was underlined with the slide show presentation of Lennart Ackzell who showed pictures of the many 2017 activities.
The IFFA message is clear: sustainable management of family forests is carried out with best results when four basic conditions are in place: secure tenure, fair access to markets, good extension services, and strong associations. We have been privileged in recent years to have new members join IFFA from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. When we consider those four basic conditions in detail, the challenges faced by family forest owners may be very different from one continent to another. When we look at them as broad, general principles, they apply equally to all of us.
We were very active at UNFF12 in May in New York with a delegation of four, each contributing a statement to general discussion, with good references to family forestry issues in the final report of the session. We also organized a Side event on “More wood from sustainably managed forests” which we hope will make a contribution to helping bring this issue to the forefront in Climate Change negotiations.
A second major effort by IFFA last year was our involvement in the Conference of forest producer associations in Africa, held in September in Tanzania. Representatives from 14 countries were present, including significant numbers of women and youth, and a number of promising follow-up actions were identified. An additional concrete result for IFFA was the expression of interest by several associations in becoming members of IFFA.
|IFFA chair, Peter deMarsh|
In the Work Plan approved at last year’s Annual Meeting, we proposed a specific target: clear recognition by COP23 of the UNFCCC on the importance of “More wood from sustainably managed forests” (now being referred to as “Sustainable Wood”). We learned that such an ambitious goal requires much sustained effort over several years. Perhaps another lesson is that while setting specific targets is a good idea, we should never lose sight of IFFA’s core function, to bring the voice of family forest owners to all international discussions on global forestry issues. We must remember that achieving clear recognition and understanding of our message is long, slow work that requires persistence by a large team over a number of years. We can take some satisfaction from our efforts when we see that in international discussions of forestry issues, such as the “Halting Deforestation” Conference at FAO three weeks ago in Rome, serious people now consistently recognize family forest owners (“forest smallholders” as we have come to be called from a global perspective) as an important player in the future of the world’s forests. We have had some good friends, allies, and partners in this effort and we must thank them also. In particular, we need to thank the Forest and Farm Facility. Opportunities to build new partnerships have also emerged such as with the ITTO and IUFRO. “Slow but steady” has gotten results. And, there is much more to do.
The chair thanked the board, the organisation and the secretariat for the support in 2017. He informed the annual meeting that the Norwegian Federation has asked to have the secretariat housed in another location and that the Board is working on a new solution. The present secretariat will function until a new arrangement is found and will work to secure a smooth transition.
The Chair thanked the Norwegian Federation most warmly for being such a fine host for the past six years, and Ellen and Ivar for all of their hard work. IFFA cannot get results without an effective and dedicated Secretariat, and the organisation has been very fortunate to have had such support.