Europe’s private forest owners show strong presence at the World Forestry Congress 2015
Hosted by the Republic of South Africa, nearly 4000 delegates gathered for the XIV World Forestry Congress (WFC 2015) in Durban from 7-11 September 2015, providing an excellent occasion for the wide global forest community to build a new vision for the future of forests and forestry in sustainable development at all levels.

Under the auspices of FAO, the Congress brought together foresters and forest supporters to share their expertise and experience, and to project a new vision for forestry and forests 2050. Under the theme ‘Forests and People: Investing in a sustainable future’ the participants discussed the need for governments, civil society and the private sector to boost investments in forests as a key element for sustainable development.

At the WFC 2015, the European forest owners were represented by Philipp zu Guttenberg (AGDW President and CEPF Vice-President), Janne Näräkkä (MTK, Finland), Lennart Ackzell (LRF, Sweden), Christer Segerstéen (Södra, Sweden), Lorenz Klein von Wisenberg (Germany).

During the session on forests for socio-economic development and food security Philipp zu Guttenberg highlighted in his speech the importance of building effective forest and farm producer organisations as primary actors for a sustainable future. Referring to the recently published Global Forest Resources Assessment 2015, he stressed that globally an increasing amount of forests are in hands of families and private individuals. Against the backdrop of a small average size of most forest holdings, changes in ownership patterns and the demographic change in general, he stressed the need for further investements into forest producer groups and private forest owners associations in order to strengthen the long-term viability of the forest sector and its role in society. Furthermore, he promoted the concept of sustainable forest management as key for a growing bio-economy, and emphasised ownership rights as a fundamental pillar to build on.

This year’s World Forestry Congress has further underlined the importance of forestry's contribution to the new post 2015 development goals and the road for a new vision of forests and forestry in the future, as well as for a new climate change agreement at UNFCCC COP21 in Paris in December 2015.

CEPF strongly supports the Congress as it provides an important international platform for forestry and forest issues.

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