Boosting partnership between FAO and the private sector

Rome, 14 April 2020 –Senior executives from the forest industry have set priorities to enhance the forest sector’s contribution to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the 61st session of the Advisory Committee on Sustainable Forest-based Industries (ACSFI).

ACSFI, a FAO statutory body, brings together heads of forest industry and forest growers’ associations and company executives from over 20 countries around the world.

“ACSFI provides a forum for dialogue between FAO and the private sector to enhance the understanding of emerging opportunities, and to identify strategic actions that promote sustainable forest management, as well as sustainable consumption and production patterns related to forest products,” said ACSFI Secretary Sven Walter.

Meeting via web conferencing on 31 March due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, ACSFI members agreed that strategic partnerships between the private sector, FAO and other relevant stakeholders should be a key to supporting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.Membersalso endorsed a new ACSFI strategic framework for 2020-2030 at the session.

ACSFI is the only statutory body at FAO that works specifically with the private sector, and as we enter a critical decade to achieve the SDGs, the development of a clear ACSFI Strategic Framework has been essential. Based on the outcomes of a comprehensive review process, the new Strategic Framework 2020-2030 aims to ensure that the ACSFI achieves its mandate in the most efficient and effective way possible. As Lyndall Bull, Forestry Officer at the ACSFI Secretariat outlines: “The development of the ACSFI Strategic Framework is a thorough and important process to enhance the understanding of emerging opportunities and threats for the global forest sector. In particular, it seeks to prioritize those topics that FAO, the private sector, and other stakeholders should focus in the context of the ACSFI to promote the sustainable consumption and production patterns related to forest products.”

The session heard that the current COVID-19 crisis presents the global forest sector with critical urgent and longer term challenges. Derek Nighbor, Chair of the International Council on Forest and Paper Associations (ICFPA), said: “The ICFPA is working with member associations to develop a comprehensive repository of information related to their COVID-19 responses. This will allow the sector to support and learn from each other in the most timely way possible. We look forward to continuing our constructive relationship with the ACSFI to ensure that the essential services that the forest sector provides can continue during these challenging times”.

Members were also updated on a new ACSFIinitiative focusing on forest renewables replacing fossil-based and greenhouse-gas-intensive productsbeing undertaken in collaboration with the European Forest Institute. A report from this project, called Project Foresight, is due in late 2020.  “This initiative is really important for our climate, our industry and for the sustainable management and use of the world’s forests,” said Carina Hakansson, ACSFI Chair and Director General of the Swedish Forest Industries Federation.

The meeting concluded with the decision to hold the 62nd meeting of the ACSFI in Australia.

“The forest sector in Australia is experiencing huge challenges this year with the forest fires and the COVID-19 pandemic and it is implementing targeted action to mitigate the impacts,” said the ACSFI Vice Chair and CEO of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA), Ross Hampton. “AFPA is looking forward to welcoming ACSFI members to Australia in 2021 and to share lessons learned from the Australian forest sector to address these challenges.”

last updated:  Thursday, April 23, 2020