The 15th World Forestry Congress ends, addresses crucial environmental issues



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The 15th World Forestry Congress ends, addresses crucial environmental issues

President Moon Jae-in gives a keynote speech at the World Forestry Congress held at the COEX in Seoul, Tuesday.  Courtesy of Korea Forest Service
President Moon Jae-in gives a keynote speech at the World Forestry Congress held at the COEX in Seoul, Tuesday. Courtesy of Korea Forest Service


By Kim Hyun-bin

The 15th World Forestry Congress came to a close Friday with global environmental leaders discussing major nature-based solutions to climate change and other eco-friendly measures during the five-day event held at Coex in Seoul.

The World Forestry Congress is held every six years under the supervision of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Forestry officials from around the world gather to discuss global forest and environmental issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss and desertification, as well as to seek solutions through forestry. It is the largest and most influential international conference in the forestry field.

The closing ceremony started with the presentation of the results of the five-day general meeting, followed by remarks from representatives from each forestry sector, and then closing speeches by UNCCD Secretary-General Ibrahim Thiaw, FAO Secretary-General Maria Helena Semedo, and Princess Basma Bint Ali of Jordan. Korea Forest Service head Choi Byeong-am made the closing declaration.

In particular, as one of the main results of the general assembly, the Seoul Forestry Declaration, which was written by the host country, Korea, was announced. The declaration emphasizes that for a sustainable future, responsibility for forest management must be integrated among various agencies and stakeholders.

In addition, with the need for financial input for sustainable forest management, it announced the launch of the Assuring the Future of Forests with Integrated Risk Management mechanism (AFFIRM), and the establishment of new partnerships, such as the Sustaining an Abundance of Forest Ecosystems initiative (SAFE) and the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Plus (REDD +) capacity-building platform.

At the Ministerial Forum, the Ministerial Call on Sustainable Wood was announced. Sustainable wood-use solutions must be built on the basis of sustainable forest management, and each country is committed to achieving their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to the goals of the Paris Agreement for reducing carbon emissions by 2030.

Meanwhile, the 15th World Forestry Congress was recorded as the largest ever World Forestry Congress, despite the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic.

In particular, the event was a means to share Korea’s excellent forest policy with the world through special events such as the Forest Fire Forum and the Peace Forestry Initiative (PFI) high-level meetings held under the leadership of Korea, and to solidify Korea’s position as one of the world’s leading nations in forestry.

“This 15th World Forestry Congress was an opportunity for Korea to build close partnerships with all forestry officials around the world and take the lead in implementing the sustainable green future discussed at this meeting,” Choi Byung-am, the commissioner of the Korea Forest Service , said at the closing ceremony at COEX in Seoul, Friday. “I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all the participants from all over the world who shared their wisdom and insight despite the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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