Forum to discuss future of forestry, challenges in APAC

Experts and officials attend Asia Pacific Forestry Week in Pampanga, the Philippines, in 2016

South Korea is hosting events on forestry in the Asia-Pacific region this week for academia, governments and the private sector to discuss and share views on pressing challenges in the sector.

The Asia-Pacific Forestry Week 2019 and the 28th Session of the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission kicked off Monday at the Songdo ConvensiA Convention Center in Incheon. The five-day event is jointly organised by the Korea Forest Service and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

In its fourth edition, APFW 2019 is one of the largest forestry gatherings in the APAC region, comprising workshops, seminars and other partner events. Prior editions were held in Hanoi in April 2008, Beijing in November 2011, and Pampanga, the Philippines, in February 2016.

APFC is one of six regional forestry commissions established by the Food and Agriculture Organization to provide a policy and technical forum for countries to discuss and address forest issues on a regional basis.

Under the theme of “forest for peace and well-being,” it will implement peace in conflict areas or marginalized areas due to desertification. The session will also focus on improving the quality of life, such as “forest rest and healing,” and creating forest-related jobs.

As for APFW 2019, there will be forums, seminars and workshops under five segments.

The first segment will focus on restoring forests and landscapes as a global and regional priority. It will involve the discussion of different approaches to restoration, such as urban and peri-urban forestry; forest and landscape restoration; and community-based restoration. It will also explore links between restoration efforts and financing and investment opportunities, including the involvement of the private sector.

This segment is led by international development organization Pacific Community, the Asia-Pacific Network for Sustainable Forest Management and Rehabilitation and the Asian Forest Cooperation Organization.

The second segment highlights people and forests living in harmony. This session will focus on the social dimensions of forests, addressing issues related to tenure, equity, gender and community participation. It will also discuss how forests can provide tangible opportunities for communities to improve their incomes and livelihoods sustainably.

It is led by the Center for People and Forests, the ASEAN Working Group on Social Forestry and the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture.

The third segment will deal with building a resilient environment. A range of old concerns and new ideas are expected to be discussed. These include progress on the implementation of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. It will also address the need for curbing disaster risks and better managing emerging green technologies to help increase resilience to climate variability.

The fourth segment will focus on promoting responsible trade and markets. It will discuss emerging trends in trade, markets and consumer behaviour of timber and non-timber forest products as well as forest ecosystem services. Forestry industry development in the region, with a focus on smallholders, will also receive attention.

The last segment centres on innovating governance and institutions. A number of countries in the Asia-Pacific region have completed or are undergoing forestry policy and governance structure reforms in recent years. This segment will share and exchange experiences from the countries related to such reforms.

Ban Ki-moon, president and chairman of the Global Green Growth Institute, will give a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of APFW 2019. Indonesian Minister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya Baker will be a keynote speaker at the plenary session.

“By taking this opportunity, we will discuss pending forest-related agenda at the global level, such as forest restoration and preserving biodiversity in the APAC region,” said a KFS spokesperson.

“Findings from the meeting will be linked with the agenda of the conference and developed for the 15th World Forest Congress in 2021, which will be held in Korea,” the official said.