The 15th World Forestry Congress concluded with the closing ceremony on Friday in Seoul, adopting the Seoul Forest Declaration.
The five-day congress is hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organization and held every six years to share worldwide forest-related and environmental problems, like climate change, biodiversity loss and desertification, and devise solutions through forests.
The closing ceremony started with the announcement of outcomes across the five days, followed by comments from forest sector representatives. Korea Forest Service Minister Choi Byeong-am’s closing declaration concluded the ceremony following closing remarks from Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw of the UNCCD, Deputy Director-General Maria Helena Semedo of FAO, and Princess Basma Bint Ali of Jordan.
The Seoul Forest Declaration, prepared by the host country, was announced among the major outcomes. The declaration highlights that future sustainable forest management responsibilities should be integrated among agencies and stakeholders. Additionally, the need to build new partnerships, like the AFFIRM Mechanism, SAFE initiative and REDD+, and establish financing for sustainable forest management was recognized.
The Ministerial Call on Sustainable Wood was also announced. The declaration says solutions for using wood sustainably should be built into sustainable forest management, with each country agreeing to nationally determined contributions by 2030.
Meanwhile, the 15th World Forestry Congress was recorded as the largest ever held, despite the pandemic. Around 10,000 participants from 141 countries participated, a record high, which far exceeded the previous record of 7,000.
The congress was held online and offline for the first time considering the coronavirus pandemic. The secretariat provided online streaming services for overseas participants unable to attend in person.
The congress was attended by forest officials from all over the world, including around 50 high-level officials and leaders of international organizations, academia, and civic society organizations. Programs included plenary sessions, special events, sub-theme sessions, side events, networking events, exhibitions, and poster sessions.
In particular, Korea shared its forestry policies with the world and strengthened its position as a leader in global forest issues through special events, including by heading the fire management forum and PFI roundtable.
Minister Choi Byeong-am of the Korea Forest Service said, “Korea will take the lead in implementation for making a sustainable green future that was discussed in the congress and in building close partnerships with forest officials around the world after the XV World Forestry Congress.”
By Shin Ji-hye (email@example.com