Building a green, healthy and resilient. XV World Forestry Congress, Seoul

Building a green, healthy and resilient. XV World Forestry Congress, Seoul

The Fifteenth meeting of the World Forestry Congress (XV WFC) It is held every six years. This year’s event, hosted by the Republic of Korea and co-organized with FAO, was the second congress held in Asia. Indonesia hosted the first Congress in Asia in 1978. Congress has been providing a forum for inclusive discussion on the key challenges and way forward for the forestry sector. The theme for 2022: Building a green, healthy and resilient.

Convening under the theme “Building a Green, Healthy and Resilient Future with Forests,” the Fifteenth meeting of the World Forestry Congress (XV WFC) sought to define the role of forests in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other major agreements, including the Global Forest Goals, the Paris Agreement on climate change, and the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. During the five-day meeting, co-organized by the Republic of Korea and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), participants addressed a wide variety of themes, including: the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration; Forests for a Healthy, Prosperous and Peaceful World; and Sustainable Pathways for Building a Green, Healthy, and Resilient Future.

Key events included: the launch of FAO’s State of the World’s Forests 2022 report; the High-Level Roundtable on the Peace Forest Initiative (PFI); the Ministerial Forum on Financing; the Ministerial Forum on Sustainable Wood; the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) Dialogue; two full-day forums, one on forest fires, and another on private sector investment; the launch of the Assuring the Future of Forests with Integrated Risk Management (AFFIRM) Mechanism for fire management; and the Sustaining an Abundance of Forest Ecosystems (SAFE) initiative. Additionally, participants were invited to special events on investing in young forestry professionals and career development; forests in a post-COVID World: and sustainable forests and green energy.

Over the course of the week, 30 thematic dialogue sessions were held, organized under six sub-themes on the most important current issues concerning forests and the products and services they provide. These sub-themes included: reversing deforestation and forest degradation; nature-based solutions (NbS) for climate change adaptation and biodiversity conservation; green pathways to growth and sustainability; forests and human health; managing and communicating forest information, data and knowledge; and enhancing management and cooperation.

The main outcomes of the Congress include: detailed action proposals following the six sub-themes of the Congress; a Ministerial Call on Sustainable Wood; a youth call for action; and the Seoul Forest Declaration, which outlines shared roles and responsibilities for ensuring a sustainable future for the world’s forests.The Wangari Maathai Forest Champions Award 2022 was presented to Cécile Ndjebet, African Women’s Network for Community Management of Forests.

XV WFC convened in Seoul, Republic of Korea, from 2-6 May, 2022, with over 15,000 participants from 146 countries representing governments and public agencies, international organizations, the private sector, academic and research institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and community and Indigenous organizations. The meeting was held in a hybrid format, with 4,500 participants joining the meeting online.

Finally, the world's largest gathering on forests culminated in the adoption of a declaration identifying priority areas with the potential to lead to a green, healthy and resilient future.

The Seoul Forest Declaration was signed by 141 participants and concluded five days of discussions, with a focus on how forests can help combat the multiple crises facing humanity, including climate change, biodiversity loss, land degradation, hunger and poverty. Investment in forest and landscape restoration globally needs to triple by 2030 to meet internationally agreed commitments and targets on restoring degraded land, according to the Declaration. Close cooperation among nations is needed to address challenges that transcend political boundaries. Other highlights of the Declaration include: Urges for Shared Responsibility; Investment in Forest; Circular Bioeconomy and Climate Neutrality; Steps to Prevent Future Pandemics; Need for Innovative Technologies and Mechanisms. (NOTA: l’articolo continua dopo le foto)

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Regarding the participation of the Model Forest Network, the MMFN Secretariat delegation composed of Toni Ventre and Silvia Vannini participated in all plenary sessions and 14 workshops, side and special events for the various sub-themes, actively intervening in some of them. The Mediterranean Network booth in the exhibition area was much visited with a general interest in the specific approach and activities of our Network. The layout and dissemination materials were very much appreciated. Particularly positive was the meeting between the Secretaries of the three Model Forest Networks: Asian (Preecha Ongprasert – Royal Forest Department-Thailand), Latin American (Fernando Carrera-CATIE Costa Rica) and Mediterranean (Toni Ventre - Tuscany Region - Italy) who shared the will to intensify relations, exchange of best practices, experiences and projects between the networks. Immediately to be put on the calendar was the proposal to organise open webinars to present the many projects and experiences on specific shared themes in the fields of SFM, ecosystem and forest restoration, and actions to combat climate change. As this year is also the 30th anniversary of the International Network, the three Secretaries, in common with the Canadian Secretariat, hope to organise a new meeting in the future, after the last one held in Burgos (Spain) in 2011, of all the Model Forests of the International Network in order to coordinate activities to face the great challenges ahead.

Finally it’s really a pleasure and a duty to thank the Government of South Korea and FAO for so effective and amazing organization under each point of view!