XV World Forestry Congress: Ministers issue call on sustainable wood

Maria Helena Semedo, FAO Deputy Director-General - WFC 2021

FAO's Deputy Director-General, Maria Helena Semedo

©IISD/ENB | Diego Noguera


Seoul – An important step towards better harvesting the potential of sustainable wood for carbon-neutral and resilient economies was taken today by ministers at the XV World Forestry Congress, which is co-organized by FAO and the Republic of Korea.

Sustainable wood has huge potential as a cost-effective solution in sectors including construction, furniture, packaging, renewable energy, biomaterials for clothing and biochemicals, ministerial representatives with environmental and forestry responsibilities stated in a joint call to action after a Ministerial Forum on Sustainable Wood at the Congress.

“We are convinced that mobilising the full potential of sustainable wood will enable us to build more carbon-neutral and resilient economies and progress towards more sustainable societies,” the representatives of Austria, Cameroon, Gabon, Japan, Peru and the Republic of Korea said.

Ministers underlined the need to base increased use of sustainable wood on sustainable forest management – including restoration and afforestation efforts - in order not to compromise forests’ multiple essential roles, including for climate, biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Concrete areas for action

The ministerial call outlined four areas for action for scaling-up sustainable wood-based pathways. These included enhancing awareness of their potential and promoting global and regional policy dialogues on synergies and ways to strengthen investments. Action is also needed to promote technical exchange and sharing of experiences to drive innovations. Ministers also called to  significantly increase the use of sustainable wood-based solutions within Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement .

“We need solutions at scale that are cost-effective and equitable and can be implemented rapidly,” said FAO Deputy Director-General Maria Helena Semedo. “Sustainable wood based solutions can be up-scaled to contribute more to building carbon neutral and resilient economies.”

The ministers committed to drive forward a global effort to enhance policy and technical dialogue and exchange between producer and consumer countries and key stakeholders to develop momentum and actions at scale, supported by FAO and members of the Collaborative Partnership of Forests (CPF).  The Ministerial forum was co-organised by FAO, who will have an active role going forward in this global dialogue.

Ministers from across the world participated in the event:

  • Choi Byeong-Am, Minister of Korea Forest Service, Republic of Korea
  • Doret Ndongo, Minister of Forestry and Wildlife, Republic of Cameroon
  • Orita Hiroshi, Deputy Director General of Japan Forestry Agency, Japan
  • Maria Patek, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Regions and Tourism, Republic of Austria
  • Hilario López Córdova, Executive Director of the National Forest and Wildlife Service, Republic of Peru on behalf of Hon. Óscar Zea Choquechambi, Minister of Agricultural Development and Irrigation, Republic of Peru
  • Lee White, Minister of Water, Forest, the Sea and Environment, Gabonese Republic Rosalie
  • Matondo, Minister of Forest Economy, Republic of Congo
  • Alfred Giuchu, Head of Forest Conservation, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Kenya on behalf of Hon. Keriako Tobiko, Cabinet Secretary of Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Republic of Kenya

The Ministerial Forum on Sustainable Wood – Towards Carbon Neutral and Resilient Economies took place on the second day of the XV World Forestry Congress, the largest international gathering of stakeholders in forestry, which takes place every six years.

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