Summit opens Europe’s first Forest Week

The role forests can play in the battle against dangerous climate is one of the topics to be discussed by delegates at a summit to mark the first European Forest Week.

The gathering in Rome, hosted by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), will run from 20-24 October.

In a press release, the FAO said Europe’s forests were growing at the rate of about 13 million cubic feet annually, yet only two-thirds of this growth was being exploited.

“Forests cover 44% of Europe’s land area and continue to expand,” said Jan Heino, FAO’s assistant director-general for forestry.

“Collaboration across the forest and forest-related sectors is crucial if we are to take full advantage of the multiple resources forests offer.”

Delegates from 46 countries are attending the Rome meeting, which has been jointly organised by the European Commission, FAO, the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe (MCPFE) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

Partnering the talks in Italy, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is hosting a conference in Brussels, looking at the “role of forests and the forest-based sector in meeting the EU’s climate commitments”.

More than 130 events will be staged throughout Europe over the course of the five days to highlight the value of Europe’s forests and what needs to be done to fully utilise their potential.

Organisers hope the inaugural European Forest Week hope the focus on sustainable forestry management will contribute towards finding solutions for some of the most challenging issues facing forests and forestry today: climate change, energy and water.

In the last 15 years, forest area in Europe has grown by 32 million acres or an area equivalent to the size of Greece.

Source: FAO press release

Date: 17/10/2008

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