It was not without some reservations that some of us at FAO, not to mention our colleagues in Viet Nam, entertained the idea of hosting a first-ever “Forestry Week for Asia and the Pacific”. It seemed a bit grandiose, both in name, and in ambition. While it appeared that there was considerable scope to positively impact the regional forestry sector with this event, it also presented challenges of an entirely new scale – including potential for logistical disaster! In hindsight, the event turned out to be visionary – leading to synergies that otherwise would not have taken place, in a sector which stands to benefit greatly from collaboration and multidisciplinary approaches. I can say with conviction that the first Asia-Pacific Forestry Week was a great success and an initiative for which all the organizers can be proud. It has even led to calls for similar initiatives in other regions.
This is not to minimize the effort that went into organizing and hosting this event. Our Vietnamese colleagues were every bit as hospitable as could be hoped for. While they may not have fully recognized the magnitude of the task from the offset – few of us did – they graciously rose to the occasion. Significant amounts of time and energy were invested to expand and reinvent the 22nd session of the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission session into a far more encompassing and innovative event. The lead in organizing the three thematic pillars: social, environmental and economic was undertaken by partner organizations, bringing an infusion of new thought, creative synthesis and strengthened collaboration. The partner organizations have left their stamps on the resulting summaries of each of these sessions with the result being a mosaic of dialogues, presentations and insights emerging from the Week.
“Asia-Pacific Forestry Week: Forestry in a Changing World - A summary of events of the first Asia-Pacific Forestry Week” provides a roadmap of the week. For those who had the good fortune to be in attendance, this publication offers a colorful and comprehensive review – for those who were not able to be there, a flavor of what transpired. This publication truly represents the best of what can result from translating forward-thinking into action.
Assistant Director-General and
FAO Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific