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Asia-Pacific Forestry Week

Opening plenary session: Growing our Future!

Have your questions answered!

The opening plenary session of Asia-Pacific Forestry Week 2016 will be held on Tuesday 23 February, 11.10-12.30. A panel of distinguished forestry and natural resources experts will consider questions, issues and challenges relating to the APFW theme, “Growing our future”.

This is your chance to have your question put to the panel by noted Al Jazeera anchor, Veronica Pedrosa, who will facilitate the session. 

Please submit your question to AP-Forestry-Week@fao.org with email header “Question for opening plenary panel”. The text of the email should identify the panelist you would like your question to be asked and the text of the question. Please make your question very concise. A selection of the most interesting and challenging questions will be put to the panel.  



Neil Byron

Neil Byron was the commissioner responsible for environment, agriculture and natural resource management issues in the Australian Productivity Commission from 1998 to 2010.  Previous appointments include managing a project for FAO and UNDP in Bangladesh; and Assistant Director General of the Centre for International Forestry Research, based in Indonesia. Neil also consulted internationally in the design and evaluation of forestry projects since 1980, especially in social and community forestry. He is an Adjunct Professor in Environmental Economics at the Australian National University and the University of Canberra. In 2014/15 he chaired an independent review of Biodiversity Legislation in New South Wales which led to the drafting of a new Biodiversity Conservation Act. Neil was a non-executive Director of a plantation forestry company in New Zealand for 4 years and has been a Director of Earthwatch Institute Australia since 2010. In his private life, Neil enjoys long walks (200 to 600 km).

Doris Capistrano

Doris Capistrano is Senior Advisor of the SDC-supported ASEAN-Swiss Partnership on Social Forestry and Climate Change (ASFCC). She is the Chair of the Board of Trustees of RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests. She was Director of Forests and Governance of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and Visiting Professor in Forest and Conservation Policy of Wageningen University. She served as Ford Foundation’s Deputy Representative for India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka and Program Officer for Rural Poverty, Resources and Environment in Bangladesh.  She previously taught Economics at the University of the Philippines at Los Banos.

John Innes

John Innes is Dean of the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia and also leads the Sustainable Forest Management Laboratory. His current research includes application of the principles of sustainable forest management to real world situations and how internationally agreed criteria and indicators of sustainable forest management can be improved. He is also working with a number of indigenous peoples looking at how they are implementing sustainable forest management including how the impacts of climate change are affecting forest-dependent communities. He is closely involved with a number of international projects in China and elsewhere and is the Vice President for Policy of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations.

Tony La Viña 

Tony La Viña is currently Dean of the Ateneo School of Government. In the Philippines and Asia, he is a well-known human rights and environmental lawyer, having worked for more than 25 years now to promote the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities and the protection of the environment. Tony has been a lead negotiator for the Philippines in the climate change negotiations since 1997. He has played prominent and leadership roles in the processes especially on land use change and forestry issues and in Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD-plus) negotiations. He was lead negotiator and delegation spokesman for the Philippines in negotiating the Paris Agreement, working particularly for a 1.5 degree global target and the integration of human rights and climate justice into an agreement which would be ambitious and effective in overcoming the climate challenge.

May Anne Then 

Born in Malaysia and raised in Brunei-Darussalam, May Anne Then recently graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Science in Forest Sciences, focusing on Disturbance Ecology. She is currently serving her second term as President of the International Forestry Students’ Association (IFSA). She has spoken at a number of international conferences and decision making processes as a representative of IFSA.