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Forest: the heart of a green economy

Published: 19 June 2012

A one-day event organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) was held yesterday in Rio to highlight the role of forests and forest industries in building the green economy.  The event discussed how sustainable production and consumption of forest-based bio-products are a potential game-changer in moving towards a greener economy. 

The event was opened by a high level panel, including Prince Albert II of Monaco, Mr.  Sven Alkalaj, Executive Secretary of UNECE and Mr. Eduardo Rojas, Assistant Director General of FAO on Forestry. Also present was the Minister of the Korean Forest Service, Dr. Don Koo Lee.

In his opening address, Prince Albert highlighted the need to enhance the economic dimension of forests in a fair and responsible way for the whole mankind.

In his remarks, Mr. Alkalaj elaborated on the joint work of UNECE and FAO to develop an Action Plan for the Forest Sector in a Green Economy. He stressed that the forest sector, in every aspect of its activities, needs to minimize its carbon emissions, use its resources efficiently and be socially inclusive.  He highlighted how “the Action Plan supports the forest sector in the UNECE region so that it can make the greatest possible contribution to the emerging green economy by improving well-being and social equity while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.”

Mr. Alkalaj reminded that action identified in the plan will need to be implemented by ad-hoc partnerships, involving governments but also alliances with the private sector, civil society and governmental and non-governmental organizations.  The Plan, he explained, “ is meant to inspire action and provide the basis for many organizations’ plans and activities so that they focus on forests in a green economy”’.

During the event, examples of sustainable low-carbon forest products and related new applications, lessons learned from countries on deploying forest supply chains in the bio-economy, and associated benefits to local livelihood were also showcased.

The next event of UNECE-FAO at Rio on forests and the green economy entitled ‘ What is YOUR priority action for the forest sector in a green economy’ will be held on the last day of the conference, on 22 June, and will offer an opportunity to participants to contribute to the further elaboration of the Action Plan.

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