XIV World Forest Congress 2015

XIV World Forestry Congress and VISION 2050: charting a new future for global forestry

12 May 2015, New York - With the opening of the XIV World Forestry Congress just a few months away, co-organizers the Government of the Republic of South Africa and FAO made a compelling case for large and broad participation from foresters and a wide range of other sectors during a joint UNFF side event.

Chairing the side event, H.E. Kingsley J.N. Mamabolo, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Republic of South Africa to the United Nations, encouraged UNFF 11 participants to consider the many reasons why engaged participation at the Congress was so important for the future of the sector.

H.E. Gen Bheki Cele, Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of the Republic of South Africa, outlined key elements critical for South Africa and Africa that will be addressed at the Congress, including forests in economic development, food security, wood energy, employment and youth involvement.

Trevor Abrahams, Secretary-General of the XIV WFC, and Tiina Vahanen, Associate Secretary-General, expanded on the need for broad participation in their introductory statements, while Hosny El-Lakany, Chair of the XIV WFC Advisory Committee, briefed delegates on the legacy and visionary outcome of the Congress.

Eva Müller, Director, FAO Forest Economics, Policy and Products Division, underlined the importance of the Congress at a time when the post-2015 agenda is being translated into a roadmap for action.

“We hope the Congress will show that investment in forestry is an investment in people, enabling conditions and resources, and, in turn, an investment in national economies and sustainable development,” she said. “The Congress aims to build a new vision for forests – we call it the VISION 2050 - a new way of thinking and acting for the future of forests and forestry in sustainable development."

The side event presenters’ collective message was clear: the Congress and its theme of Forests and People: Investing in a sustainable future, with a special focus on youth, will provide all forestry stakeholders with a key global space to debate and discuss the real needs of sustainable forestry in the 21st century and help define how these might best be met.

“Anyone with an interest in the future of global forestry and who wishes to see it help drive sustainable economic growth and meet the employment aspirations of young people should reserve their place at the Congress table,” Vahanen said.

The side event was attended by over 100 delegates.