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             8 June 2000


The United Nations University (UNU) announces the launch of a new project on the role of forests in sustainable development. The focus of the project will be on research networking and capacity building, particularly in developing and transitionary countries.

Forests comprise many different ecosystems and play a vital role in solving many of the environmental maladies we now face. For example, forests function as important "carbon sinks," as stabilizers of climate, as protectors of watersheds and as conservers of biolgical diversity. Recent international conventions on issues of climate change, desertification and biodiversity have prominently positioned forests in their lists of management solutions.

The World Forests, Society and Environment (WFSE) Programme brings together three partners: the UNU, the Finnish Forest Research Institute (METLA) and the European Forest Institute (EFI) in Finland. The aim of the new project, under the leadership of Prof. Matti Palo of METLA, is to conduct targeted research on sustainable forest management, support partnership networking and capacity building regarding the role of forests in sustainable development, and disseminate WFSE programme results. The project will particularly focus on improving linkages between forest science and forest policy at the international, national, and subnational levels.

The research programme will cover issues of globally relevant research on world forests, society and environment in support of sustainable forest development and the well-being of people. In pursuit of this broad enterprise, a collaborative relationship has been established with three associate partners: the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) in Indonesia, International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF) in Kenya, and Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Centre (CATIE) in Costa Rica.

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For further information please contact
The UNU Public Affairs Section
Tel. (03) 5467-1243, -1246
Fax (03) 3406-7346




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