XIV World Forest Congress 2015

Friday 11 September highlights

World Forestry Congress sets out vision for future of forests

The world’s forests must be recognized as “more than trees”, the XIV World Forestry Congress meeting in Durban, South Africa, concluded today. Instead, forests hold vast potential to play a decisive role in ending hunger, improving livelihoods and combating climate change. The largest gathering on forests this decade set out its vision of how forests and forestry should look in 2050, adopting the Durban Declaration after a week of debate. On the final day of the Congress, delegates also sent messages on the role of forests in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), directed to the UN General Assembly, and a message for the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change on how forests can contribute to the new climate-change regime. 

Closing ceremony

During the closing ceremony, Bheki Cele, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, invited expressions of interest to host the 15th World Forestry Congress in 2021. The Republic of Korea and Russia both made offers to host the event. Bukar Tijani, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa, gave a closing address in which he said the XIV World Forestry Congress had been one of the most successful Congresses to have taken place since its inception in 1926. Tiina Vahanen, Associate Secretary-General of the Congress, concluded the week-long event.

Round tables

Prior to the adoption of the declaration, the Congress held round table discussions on the way forward. Among the topics was building momentum for community-based forestry, forest and farm organisations, including the launch of FAO-We Effect partnership. Other round tables included the way forward for youth, forest information, and forest and landscape restoration. 

#Forests2015 social media campaign

Since the beginning of the social media campaign, 31,779 tweets with the official #Forests2015 Congress hashtag were sent by 8,666 different contributors, reaching 32 million different Twitter accounts. The social media team also published 294 blog posts on the #Forests2015 blog, which received over 8,400 comments. The social media team consisted of 313 people, including 54 social media boot camp participants.