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EUFORGEN Steering Committee met in Paris

Published: 10/12/2012
Participants of the eighth Steering Committee meeting. Credit: EUFORGEN

National Coordinators from EUFORGEN member countries gathered to Paris, France for the eight meeting of the Steering Committee on 27-29 November 2012. The meeting was hosted by the French Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.

The Steering Committee reviewed the progress made during 2010-2012, the financial status of the Programme and developed a new work plan for 2013-2014. Three EUFORGEN working groups presented their draft reports in Paris for comments, as scheduled in the current work plan. The reports focused on:

  1. Development of a pan-European genetic conservation strategy for forest trees
  2. Development of a genetic monitoring system for dynamic conservation units of forest trees, and
  3. Identifying critical issues related to the use and transfer of forest reproductive material in the context of climate change.

The Steering Committee expressed its appreciation of the quality of the reports and thanked the working groups and other experts who had provided inputs to the reports. The working groups were tasked to finalize their reports by autumn 2013 based on the comments received. For 2012-2014, the Steering Committee established two new working groups, one focusing on policy issues related to conservation and use of forest genetic resources, and another one developing genetic conservation approaches in the context of climate change. Experts to the new working groups will be selected by the end of January 2013 after which the groups will then start their work by email before they meet for the first time.

The Steering Committee also exchanged views on several new initiatives of the European Commission, namely:

  1. A draft Regulation on marketing and production of plant reproductive material
  2. A draft Regulation for rural development, and
  3. The revision of the EU Forest Strategy.

Furthermore, the Steering Committee discussed the draft text for a legally binding agreement on forests in Europe which was prepared by the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee in September 2012. The Steering Committee agreed follow-up actions related to these initiatives.

During the meeting, a representative of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) provided an update to the preparation of the State of the World’s Forest Genetic Resources report which is scheduled to be released in 2013. The FAO representative also briefed the Steering Committee on the 2nd Session of the Intergovernmental Technical Working Group on Forest Genetic Resources that will take place in Rome in January 2013. The Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA) will then discuss and agree follow-up actions based on the report during its 14th Session in April 2013.

The Steering Committee decided to meet again in November or December 2013 to the review progress made during the year and to initiate discussion on the future of EUFORGEN after Phase IV (2010-2014). In 2013, EUFORGEN will also organize two other events, i.e. a workshop on forest reproductive material for national experts on this topic (summer 2013) and a training workshop for the EUFGIS national focal points (autumn 2013).

Watch the interviews with two participants of the meeting:

Jason Hubert, Forest research, United Kingdom

Frank Wolter, National Coordinator for Luxembourg