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Forests contribute to Green Economy

The Geneva Environment Network has hosted a roundtable discussion uncovering how forest certification benefits communities, consumers, society as a whole and the environment.


The event – titled Strengthening the Contribution of Forests and Forest Certification to the Green Economy - took place on 28 October and was moderated by Steven Stone, head of UNEP’s Economics and Trade Branch and Green Economy Initiative.


Florian Steieier, Economic Affairs Officer at the Forestry and Timber Unit run by the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and Food and Agriculture Organisation, presented highlights from the latest Annual Market Review of Forest Products carried out by the organisations.


The UNECE region represents 60% of the world’s industrial roundwood production - providing a valuable resource to consumers - and 88% of the world’s certified forest area, Mr Steieier revealed. Meanwhile, Northern regions host 40% of world forest area, the majority of which is in Canada, he told the audience. Important questions that need to be reflected on in the future were also presented, including on new norms set by the International Organisation for Standardisation.


Ways in which forest certification can be a vehicle for rural development and international cooperation were presented by Sarah Price, Head Projects and Development at the international branch of the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification.


In order to implement sustainable forest certification, smallholders must be empowered to have sustainable livelihoods, collaboration encouraged amongst diverse actors, deforestation addressed and mitigating actions against climate change considered, she underlined.


New initiatives to measure the conservation impacts of SFI certification were meanwhile presented by Paul Trianosky, Vice President of Conservation and External Affairs at the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. Products certified under the SFI are sold in more than 120 countries.


Finally, Sandra Cabrera - Standards Analyst at the International Trade Centre (ITC) - discussed the link between forest certification and sustainable trade. The ITC aims to enable small and medium enterprises to access markets, she explained – and one such way is to promote and mainstream green trade, which can be done online.


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