12 December 2013

Africa: Forest Community Agrees to Take Joint Action Towards Greening the Economy

press release

Rovaniemi/Rome — The Rovaniemi Action Plan - a milestone for a sustainable forest sector

The Rovaniemi Action Plan for the Forest Sector in a Green Economy was adopted today by the UNECE Committee on Forests and the Forest Industry (COFFI) and the FAO European Forestry Commission (EFC).

The Action Plan provides a solid platform for the forest sector to support transformation to a green bio-based economy in Europe, North America, the Caucasus and Central Asia. Forest leaders decided to name the strategic document The Rovaniemi Action Plan, after the city where their joint session "Metsä2013" is taking place.

Heikki Grandholm, Co-chair of Metsä2013 and Chair of COFFI, said that "the forest sector in the region has already significantly contributed to the emerging green economy. This Action Plan is meant to inspire further action to enhance the contribution of forests in a green economy".

Experts say that forests will play a critical role in greening the economy as they can sustainably provide alternatives to a range of products that are harmful to the environment and the climate. For example, in construction industry cement, the production of which requires a large amount of energy, could be replaced with wood and bamboo. Bioproducts and biochemicals from forests are already being used in the food, clothing and packaging industries. Forests sustain economies by the products and services they provide and furthermore, directly employ around 4 million people in Europe alone.

The forest sector can do still more if governments and the private sector seize the opportunity to produce and use wood based products. The Plan outlines concrete steps that will help countries to deliver a steady, secure and sustainable future for forests in the region in five key areas:

Sustainable production and consumption of forest products

A low carbon forest sector

Decent green jobs in the forest sector

Long term provision of forest ecosystem services

Policy development and monitoring of the forest sector

"It is remarkable that the Rovaniemi Plan was approved during the European Forest Week 2013 as the theme of the week this year is the role of forests and forest products in a Green Economy," concluded Andrey Filipchuk, Co-chair of Metsä2013 and Chair of EFC.

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