Regional Center of Excellence of LFCCs
in Tehran Parks and Green Space Organization
Until a better definition is agreed upon, LFCCs are considered to be countries having forest coverage less than 10 percent of their land area. In 2000, 71 countries qualified as LFCCs, with a total land area of 4 billion hectares and forest cover of only 140 million hectares (3.5 percent).
Low forest cover is a global concern. It is multidimensional with economic, social, cultural and environmental impacts on the daily lives of hundreds of millions of people, mostly in developing countries. Community and forest dwellers in these countries depend on the forest to meet their subsistence needs such as fuel, food, forage, grazing provisions for livestock, shelter and medicinal plants.
A variety of factors contribute to low forest cover, including severe climatic and physical conditions, low original endowment, historical deforestation and current pressures on land use.
Since UNCED the international debate on forest issues has captured the world’s attention and has focused international political interest on the state of the world’s forest. While particular concerns of the well-forested countries have been in the forefront of the deliberations in international fora the concerns of low forest cover countries, the overwhelming majority of which are developing courtiers, have been inadequately addressed so far. In these countries scarce forest and wooded lands are particularly significant in terms of economic, social, cultural, environmental and subsistence values. However, there has been limited recognition of their needs in the international debates until the open-ended international meeting of experts on special needs and requirements of developing countries with low forest cover and unique types of forests, a government-led initiative in support of the programme of work of the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF), was held in Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, from 4 to 8 October 1999.
The meeting endorsed the proposal to launch a process, called “Tehran Process” in order to achieve the collective objectives and to pursue the implementation and further development of the outcome of the Tehran meeting. The LFCCs issues and importance have been addressed in many international forest related events.
Summary of the workshop, Tehran, 7-10 July, 2003
Workshop titled “Sustainable urban and peri-urban forestry and green spaces development in LFCCs-UPUFGS” held in Tehran from 7-10th of July 2003 jointly by TPGSO, FAO and LFCC secretariat.
The workshop recalled the Tehran process initiatives and aimed at gathering experts from LFCCs and experienced research and education institutions from developed countries to share knowledge and experiences; examine the potential role of urban and peri-urban forestry to address challenges posed by sustainable urbanization and city development, particularly in developing low forest cover countries(LFCCs) in Africa and Near East; increase awareness within LFCCs on the role of forest and trees to mitigate the impacts of rapid and uncontrolled urbanization; recommend appropriate policy and best trees management practices and propose priority actions with regard to national forest programmes and preparation of proposals to donors, and discuss urbanization status, trends and related issues prevailing in different environmental, social, economic, cultural, and institutional condition.
There were a wide range of participants from LFCCs (Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Oman, Afghanistan, Sudan, Mauritania, Tunisia, Morocco, Ethiopia, Mali, Burundi, Senegal); resource persons (Dr. Lindsay Smale, Leeds Metropolitan university, UK; Mr. Mojahed Ashouri, Forestry Officer (Watershed Management) FORC, FAO; Mr. Cecil C. Konijnendijk, Denmark; Dr. Hassan Abdel Nour, senior forestry officer, NE Regional Office, Cairo, Egypt; Mr.Pape Kone, Senior Officer for Africa; Dr. Syaka Sadio, Agro forestry and Land-use Officer, FORC, FAO; Mr. Salah Rouchiche, FAO Consultant), and experts from TPGSO, LFCC secretariat and other Iranian institutions and local NGOs.
Working groups were formed upon 3 thematic topics:
1- Policy and land use planning aspects;
2- Ecological, social and economic considerations;
3- Technical elements (forests/trees/green spaces/water management);
And 2 regional issues
1- Near East & Africa region (issues, strategies, priority actions, partnership and networking),
2- Sub-Saharan region (issues, strategies, priority actions, partnership and networking).
The working groups discussed issues, constraints, opportunities, conclusions and recommended actions on selected relevant technical topics related to urbanization, environment protection, recreation, livelihoods and employment opportunities. Each working group elected a chairman and a reporter assisted by a facilitator. The reporter was responsible for recording the main outcomes of the group’s discussions. With the groups assistance he synthesized the main outcomes and reported them to the plenary session. The resource persons worked closely with the working group reporters to bring the main issues, conclusions and recommendations together on the final day. The resource persons refined those in to a formal statement of the workshop. The workshop secretariat provided an electronic copy of the statement to the participants prior to their departure. A guideline was also prepared by Mr. Sadio and Mr. Rouchiche, which included all relevant conclusions and recommendations of the Nairobi workshop (2002).
There were discussed country papers presented at the plenary session, including reports of the working groups, various success stories, achievements, lessons learned and gaps, as well. Two specific papers were also presented in response to the needs expressed by the participants during the Tehran workshop in October 2002, regarding irrigation of trees and forest plantations as follow:
1- “The safe use of treated sewage water for trees and plantations maintenance”, by Mr. Syaka.
2- ”Forest, trees and water: Towards effective watershed management” by Mr. Achouri, based on the findings of the Tunisia case study on watershed management and water harvesting.
One of the FAO officers stayed in Tehran from 11 to 16 of July and met with TPGSO officers to discuss the follow up of the workshop outcomes and the necessary actions.
“Regional Center of Excellence and Reference in UPUFGS”
In recognition of the works achieved by TPGSO and its expertise in UPUFGS in the workshop on “Sustainable urban and peri-urban forestry and green space development in LFCCs-UPUFGS” held in Tehran from 7-10th of July 2003 jointly by TPGSO, FAO and LFCC secretariat (as it was suggested in the workshop held in Tehran the previous year) participants adopted a resolution for establishment of a Regional Center of Excellence in TPGSO-Tehran to undertake the role of training experts and producing champions in trees, urban and peri-urban forests, city parks and green spaces, which is going to provide services for about 71 members of low forest cover countries.
In response to the adopted resolution a centre named “Regional Center of Excellence”, a library and a permanent exhibition of Tehran Parks & Green Space Organization’s performance were established in Goft-o-goo (Dialogue) Park, Tehran in September 2003. Thus far, an institutional chart for center has been prepared and following actions have been taken accordingly:
-Publication of two booklets in two languages (Persian and English) titled “A quick view on center of excellence of LFCCs, 2004” and “A glance at TPGSO activities as a supporter for center of excellence of LFCCs” and distributing them in UNFF sessions
-Printing the speeches presented during the workshop on “Sustainable urban and peri-urban forestry and green spaces development in LFCCs” in 7th edition of a periodical titled proceedings of scientific and research programs on green space”
-Holding educational courses jointly with education department in TPGSO
-Distributing educational manuals jointly with education department in TPGSO
TPGSO: Tehran Parks and Green Space Organization
UPUFGS: Urban and Peri-urban forestry and Green Spaces
LFCCs: Low Forest Cover Countries