62nd Session of the Advisory Committee on Sustainable Forest-based Industries (ACSFI)
©Bracell/Gleison Rezende Rome, 26 May 2021 – On 27 and 28 April 2021, the FAO’s Advisory Committee on Sustainable Forest-based Industries (ACSFI; ‘the Committee’) met for its 62nd Annual Meeting.
The Session started with the inspiring opening remarks of the Director of FAO’s Forestry Division, Ms Mette Løyche Wilkie, who provided an update on FAO’s priorities, currently focused on three substantive areas: halting deforestation and forest degradation, upscaling forest and landscape restoration in the context of the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and promoting conservation, and sustainable use of forest resources to enhance forest-based livelihoods.
ACSFI members then reviewed and endorsed the ACSFI Work Plan 2020 – 2021, which responds to the guidance set out in the recently launched ACSFI Strategic Framework 2020 – 2030. The annual meeting was the first step in realizing the ambitions set out in the new Framework.
A high priority for the ACSFI is to consider its membership and the potential for welcoming new members, particularly those from geographies not currently well represented. An interactive discussion was held with a range of suggestions made to help guide new member considerations.
The first day of the meeting concluded with a small ceremony to celebrate the conclusion of Ms Carina Hakansson’s term as ACSFI Chair and the welcoming of Mr Ross Hampton as the new Chair and Mr José Carlos da Fonseca Junior, as the new Vice-Chair.
The second day of the meeting was focused on exploring opportunities for building strategic partnerships related to the ACSFI’s areas of strategic interest: the contribution of the forest-based industries to the transition towards a sustainable and circular bioeconomy as well as to ecosystem restoration. The opening words by the incoming Chair, Mr Ross Hampton framed these discussions by highlighting the importance of the sustainable use of renewable resources and how the ACSFI has a key role in ensuring that the forest sector optimizes its contribution to the world’s sustainability ambitions.
The ACSFI Secretariat outlined to the Committee the innovative and dynamic bioeconomy work program that is currently underway. This session was complemented by three exciting presentations that showcased just some of this work, including:
- Trends, emerging terms and research focus in the areas of bioeconomy, circular and green economy;
- Using wood residues from forest industries for energy as part of the bioeconomy transition; and
- The production of industrial roundwood from planted forests.
An outline of the Committee’s work related to ecosystem restoration followed, and an update on the ACSFI background report, Challenges and opportunities for forest-based industries’ engagement in ecosystem restoration, which is currently under preparation, opened a stimulating debate among members on priorities for future work.
Committee members provided the Secretariat with dynamic ideas for furthering the depth and breadth of the ACSFI’s strategic partnerships, particularly in relation to the contribution of the forest sector to the bioeconomy and ecosystem restoration. Suggestions included:
- Promoting international partnerships between academia, industry, finance, and public administration to seek how the transformation to a sustainable, circular bioeconomy could be achieved through sustainable and responsible forest-based production and consumption patterns
- Strengthening ties between forest-based industries and smallholders led business enterprises and initiatives in order to develop new business models with increased social and environmental benefits.
Thanks to the forward-looking discussions at the meeting, the ACSFI made “tangible contributions to the green recovery by prioritizing actions that increase the contributions of the sustainable forest sector to the circular bioeconomy”, said Lyndall Bull, FAO Forestry Officer serving the Secretariat of the Committee.