Considering minor importance of the domestic Italian initiatives in the context of the world forest problems, the report is entirely dedicated to the Development Cooperative Assistance programmes managed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In this regard, it must be firstly referred the FAO/Government of Italy Co-operative Programme in the field of Environment and Sustainable Development activities, aimed at assisting in improving the management of natural resources, that includes various projects interesting forestry, rangelands and water.
Furthermore, important references to forestry have to be considered on the bilateral and multilateral initiatives generally interesting sustainable agriculture and rural development, following the holistic approach commonly recommended in the Intergovermental Forum on Forests and specifically examined on the FAO/ Netherlands Conference on the Multifunctional Character of Agriculture and Land, held in Maastricht, 12-17 September 1999.
In fact, the goal of SFM appears to be strongly linked to the general harmonization of human activities which essentially depends on the adequate comprehension of typical cultural values - not only in terms of forestry and agriculture but generally - of the different civilizations existing in the world, as a reflection of their natural identity.
II. Monitoring and Assessment
The most important initiative of Italy in this field is represented by the project "Land Cover Mapping of East Africa based on Satellite Remote Sensing" , that is part of FAO assistance to the Nile Basin Countries and a component of a larger multi-donor program interesting the whole Africa and known under the title of "AFRICOVER".
This project started in 1995 for the duration of 5 years with the development objective to strengthen the capabilities of East African and Riparian Nile countries for a sound planning of natural resource development and their sustainable management, by producing reliable land cover maps and strengthening the national capacities in operational application of remote sensing.
The operational site of the project is based in Nairobi, at the Regional Center for Surfaces in Surveying, Mapping and remote Sensing (RCSSMRS).
At the national level, activities to search and assess the availability of topographic and existing thematic data for project use have been accomplished. Moreover, national working groups have been established in each country, with thematic capacities in map preparation.
Land cover mapping for Somalia and Kenya have been completed, those concerning Tanzania and Egypt are currently in an advanced state, those related to Burundi, Rwanda and Sudan started in 1998, while other countries are still outstanding.
Another important project actively supported by Italy in the framework of a World Bank programme, aims at the requalification and upgrading of forest management in the Bosnia and Herzegovina Federation.
Project activities include the completion of the federal basis of satellite imagenary and mapping of forest resources and an inventory of forest species. While giving particular emphasis to complementing the existing mapping work, the project has a broad integrated institutional building perspective, as it aims toward improving the reference basis and capacities for forest management planning and span from forest legislation and forest policy, forest and parks development and the rehabilitation of State forest enterprises, to the administrative and financial organization.
Furthermore, we must mention the initiative of Italian forest project for Albania to which we are referring in the following point.
III. National Forest Programmes
Regarding this point, the main initiative is the Technical Assistance to the Forestry Project in Albania, funded by the World Bank and by the Italian Government. Assistance regards two of the selected components of the general Forestry Project, thus focussing on the institutional development of forest administration and on improved management of state forests.
The first objective has been to strengthen the institutional capacity of the Directorate General of Forests and Pastures (DGFP), which is the main administrative institution in charge of forest management, to be transformed, upon project completion, into a Forest Corporation and a Forest and Pasture Department. Activities in this domain include the revision of DGFP management principles, and the preparation of a legislation draft to transform the DGFP. A strategy for environmentally sound development of forests and pastures has to be formulated, as well as financing and accounting procedures related to forest management. The project also upgrades the organizational structure of forest agencies, providing training in project evaluation and establishing a system of project monitoring.
Secondly, the project aims at reducing forest degradation, improving the management and planning capacity at the Prefect and District level. It thus provides training to appropriate staff to establish a multi-purpose forest management plan.
Finally, the project has been intended to promote environmental management, monitoring and assessment capacities, establishing a new institutional structure within the Ministry, training its staff, and setting up an information system to monitor the status of Albanian forests, and the socio-economic and environmental impacts of the project.
Due to the civil unrest which spread during 1997, the project effectively started its activities in October 1997, with some logistic problems. In 1998 a large number of consultations were carried out including: forest management plans, wood trading, forest inventories, financial and data management, legislation, monitoring and evaluation, training of trainers. New forest management plan guidelines were drafted, and a review of the thinning operations undertaken. Upon request of the World Bank and the Project Management Unit, the technical assistance is expanding to support monitoring and evaluation of all DGFP activities.
Furthermore, the Project for the "Devélopment rural intégré dans l'Adder Doutchi Maggia" in Niger has been mentioned, as an example of integration between forest and rural programs, with the objective of enhancing the productivity and exploiting the agricultural, forestry and pastoral potentialities of the region.
The activities conducted from July 1996 to March 1999, permitted to cover with forestry trenches an area of about 1.986 ha, utilizing about 2.300.000 plants that had been produced in some 40 small nurseries by peasants' associations.
Some connection with the theme of NFP is offered, also, by an Inter-regional Project for Participatory Upland Conservation and Development, conducted in collaboration with National Agencies dealing with Forestry, Soil Conservation and/or Watershed Management, of Bolivia, Nepal and Tunisia.
Among other results, the Project contributed to improve the management of water streams, forests and rangelands, by introducing innovative technical and organizational measures and/or by revitalizing indigenous know-how.
The NFP item is subsequently considered in the project "Partecipatory and Integrated Management of Forest Resources in Syria, for the duration of 1 year from May 1999 to April 2000, with the total approved budged of about 306.000 US$.
Since the forest resources in Syria are threatened by high anthropic pressure, the objective of the project is to facilitate the following aspects: a) a participatory planning and implementation approach, allowing for coordination between central and local levels; b) the nature (i.e. simplicity and cost-effectiveness) of technologies and practices diffused and adopted; c) the user-friendly and effective monitoring system; d) the high importance given to training activities.
Finally, it is important to mention the 4 years project "Country Capacity strengthening for National Forestry Action Plan (NFAP) implementation in Vietnam", with the total approved budget of 1,941,000 US$.
Among the objectives of the project are confirming aspects already considered for other countries, particularly to note the aim at increasing knowledge and skills of NFAP officials and other individuals involved in the forestry sector on problems related to the process of transition to a market economy.
IV Protected Areas
Regarding this point some particular initiatives must be mentioned.
The first one concerns a project for the management of natural resources in the Province of Taza, in Morocco, the duration of which is 3.5 years, from July 1997 to March 2001, with a total approved budget of 2,940,580 US$.
The project intends to overcome existing constraints in the Province of Taza, by implementing the adoption of a participatory management approach to natural resources. The project concentrates its activities in two sites of the Taza province, Tafrata and Tazekka, respectively located in the arid plains and in the mountains: Tafrata being interested in strengthening the production potential of pastures; the area of Tazekka, made into a National Park in 1950 and recently enlarged, playing a strategic role in the Moroccan Government's policy of forestry ecosystems protection.
The project aims at: introducing ameliorated grazing systems; supporting local cooperatives at the technical and legal level; training technical personnel in participatory management and planning; activating a system of evaluation of project activities.
Income generating activities in small-scale animal husbandry and apiculture are specifically addressing existing rural women's associations, supporting the creation of new rural cooperatives and associations.
The project team organized various meetings with local farmers, specifically with women groups, defining concrete actions to be undertaken through project assistance.
Towards the end of 1998 a seminar was held in Rome (Italy) to present the participatory planning results obtained so far, which has launched an updated workplan.
Various documents concerning an analysis of foreseen activities have been prepared by the experts who took part in the above meetings, and by local team members of the project.
Other initiatives in the field of protected areas regards the follow up of the Italian Presidency of the European Union, that led Development Cooperation of Italy to be actively involved in supporting a process of transboundary collaboration toward the sustainable management of protected ecosystems shared across international boundaries by opening biological and economic corridors and by harmonising respective standards, relevant legislation and management procedures.
Some of these projects involve extremely important and endangered protected areas of the forest biome which emerge internationally for their level of biodiversity, such as Tambopata Candamo-Madidi National Parks in the Peruvian and Bolivian Amazon, and the Kruger-Zinave-Gonarezou National Parks in South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe respectively.
They are spefically aimed at contributing to the economic, social and political stability of their region, by fostering collaboration across the borders by various abutting countries, in tackling shared problems related to the management of vast and difficult to access forested regions, the non optimal use of resources and their depletion, and illegal activities related to wildlife poaching and drug production
Lastly it must be referred the 4 years project for "Rangeland Rehabilitation and Establishment of a Wildlife Reserve in the Syrian Steppe" that, during its implementation, took in dutiful account the links with the project "Forestry and Food security in the Mediterranean and Near East Region" of the FAO/Italy cooperative programme, closed in 1997.
V. Private Sector
Besides its contribution to boosting entrepeneurial activities by providing an active support to general SFM policy and procedure development (e.g. the Primary Environmental Care model), the Italian Cooperation implements a number of specifically relevant community development projects.
Among these a project in the Madre de Dios basin in the Peruvian Amazon Forest emerge, which aim at involving indigenous communities in the identification and mobilisation of entrepreneurial activities linked to sustainable use of renewable resources of the forest. Special effort are made at integrating existing forms of use with improved technologies and communal trading aproaches for better marketability and reducing wastages, identifying alternatives towards the sustainable trade of traditionally used as well as new products from the forest, and finally, contributing with a research assessment on differences in the response of distinct ethnic and cultural groups to entrepreneurial innovation, and their bearing on the formulation of sound management procedures.
An additional noteworthy exemple is given by a project of Italian Cooperation whic focus on agroforestry systems in the Brasilian Region of Amazonia, on the states of Rondonia and Acre.
The project aims to help Associations of small producers (principally colonos and seringueiros) of these two States, in finding new economic earning alternatives, that correct the tendency of predatory and indiscriminate exploitation of the natural resources -which, locally, are mainly mediated by massive deforestation in favour of wild grazing and/or mining- by not only helping in mobilizing the necessary stakeholder involvement, but also assessing innovation perspectives in the context of effective acessibility to market, user and service areas, and ecosystemic constraints.
The alternative in question is represented by a kind of mixed installation, that foresees the combined use of trees and native-fruit palms and of common perennial farming, generally for human and animal food, in accordance to the schemes approved by the Brazilian and International scientific community, that allow for the recuperating and the sustainable management of the deforested areas.
Agricultural-forestry systems, even if at different levels in the two states of Rondonia and Acre, in relation to their specific situations, are a necessary strategy of human and environmental development, to which private-sector initiatives, relying on international programmes supported by considerable financial resources of the World Bank and of developed countries, can be of great use.
Naturally, these programmes also include action in favour of environmental education, primary and preventive health, acquisition of machinery for the agro-industrial transformation of products and credit opportunities for enterprises.
VI. Illegal Logging.
The issue of poaching forest products is actively dealt with the Italian Cooperation in the framework of its integrated programmes for the systemic management of forest resources and protected areas, all of which include initiatives to fight illegal hunting and logging, both directly -by strengthening forest inspection and control services and enhancing the participation of local communities- and indirectly -by providing economic and administrative incentives towards the establishment of forms of legal use of forest resources- with particular enphasis given to the development of environmentally compatible forms of their utilization (e.g. ecological and cultural tourism) etc.
Among the most relevant examples, two above referred projects types emerge for their systemic approaches and institutional building contributions, which Italy finances for the sustainable management of transboundary protected ecosystems shared across boundaries of South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, and the forestry projects within National Forest Programmes in Albania and in the Bosnia Herzegovina Federation.
Source: The Government of Japan
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