Serbia taps FAO expertise in forestry

© FAO/Vasily Maksimov / FAO

Belgrade, 22-February-2017 - A high-level conference in Belgrade today marks the first stage in a recently-begun four-year commitment on the part of FAO. A project worth US$3.75 million, financed by the Global Environment Facility, or GEF, is directed towards the long-term sustainability of forest ecosystems in Serbia.

Main components and expected results of the project were presented by experts in forest inventory, biodiversity, and forest management planning who helped develop the concept.

FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Europe and Central Asia Vladimir Rakhmanin underlined the ambitious nature of the project. It “goes beyond purely technical issues,” he said, “and has the potential to change long-established methods of planning and production, to meet current and future challenges of climate change and biodiversity conservation.”

Rakhmanin elaborated on FAO’s recent approach of “increasing its work on integrated and cross-sectoral approaches to address horizontal topics,” such as climate change and biodiversity, land tenure and gender.

Branislav Nedimović, Serbia’s Minister of Agriculture and Environmental Protection, was also a keynote speaker at today’s event.

Forests cover approximately 35 percent of Serbia’s national territory.

FAO’s acknowledged expertise and long experience in forestry make the GEF-funded project a natural next step in the right direction. Serbian authorities collaborated with FAO experts in the project’s preparatory phase.

The National Forest Inventory should be transformed by 2020 into an integrated national forest assessment and monitoring tool, fit to handle evolving needs. It should provide consolidated and standardized data, available to the public as well as to government entities. The project also includes a training element targeting forestry administration, institutions, and even forest users.

The Global Environment Facility is an important resource partner of FAO. The two organizations have worked together all over the world, including in Turkey, Central Asia and the Balkans – on areas such as climate change mitigation, and sustainable use of natural resources, especially land.