WFC2015 in Japan Forest Information Review(2015/10/16)

From 6 to 11 September 2015, World Forestry Congress was held in Durban, South Africa, which assembled 3,900 people from 142 countries including governmental bodies, business sectors, academia and civil societies.

Japan Forestry Agency's Press Release (Japanese)
Official Website of World Forestry Congress 2015
IISD's Daily Report from WFC

I participated the WFC to collect the information of recent trend of international forest policy. It also could be a good opportunity to put out Japan’s activities to overseas.

Other than main programme of the event, there were 6 sub theme dialogues; 1) Forests for socioeconomic development and food security, 2) Building resilience with forests, 3) Integrating forests and other land uses, 4) Encouraging product innovation and sustainable trade, 5) Monitoring forests for better decision-making, 6) Improving governance by building capacity. At the last day of congress, the Durban Declaration was adopted and delegates published 2 messages.

 

 Durban Declaration 2050 vision for forests and forestry
 
 Nearly 4000 participants from 142 countries met at the XIV World Forestry Congress on 7–11 September 2015 in Durban, South Africa – for the first time on the African continent – in a spirit of inclusiveness and with a willingness to learn from each other, share diverse points of view and gain new perspectives.
 The Congress offers the following vision for forests and forestry as a way of contributing to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and a sustainable future to 2050 and beyond:
 • Forests are more than trees and are fundamental for food security and improved livelihoods. The forests of the future will increase the resilience of communities by providing food, wood energy, shelter, fodder and fibre; generating income and employment to allow communities and societies to prosper; harbouring biodiversity; and supporting sustainable agriculture and human wellbeing by stabilizing soils and climate and regulating water flows.
 • Integrated approaches to land use provide a way forward for improving policies and practices to: address the drivers of deforestation; address conflicts over land use; capitalize on the full range of economic, social and environmental benefits from integrating forests with agriculture; and maintain multiple forest services in the landscape context.
 • Forests are an essential solution to climate change adaptation and mitigation. Sustainably managed forests will increase the resilience of ecosystems and societies and optimize the role of forests and trees in absorbing and storing carbon while also providing other environmental services.
 Realizing this vision will require new partnerships among the forest, agriculture, finance, energy, water and other sectors, and engagement with indigenous peoples and local communities. Success will require further investment in forest education; communication; capacity building; research, including climate change impact on forest health and diseases; and the creation of jobs, especially for young people. Gender equality is fundamental, with women participating fully.
 The enthusiasm of youth for creating a better world should become a constant source of inspiration and stimulus for innovation. Their call for action should be supported through multi-stakeholder participation,
 Upon the launch of the Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) 2015, the Congress took stock of the state of the world’s forests.
 This Declaration reflects a diverse set of viewpoints of the participants in the XIV World Forestry Congress. The actions recommended by Congress participants to implement the 2050 vision for forests and forestry are at [web link].South Africa showcased the training of unemployed youth as forest firefighters as an example of the creative, cost-effective and life-affirming approaches by which this vision can be achieved, and which could serve as a beacon to the challenge of youth employment in Africa and beyond.
 Participants gratefully acknowledged the hospitality of the Government and people of the Republic of South Africa, and the support of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

(Highlights in the Declaration)

Comparing to the last WFC 2009 Buenos Aires which raised 27 strategic goals, the Durban Declaration looks a bit compact, although, it still keeps the main message that forest issues should be addressed by broader sectorial partnership cooperation. At the same time, it is remarkable that we can see some other concepts are coming to stay such as;
1) Forests are an essential solution to climate change adoption as well as mitigation
2) Reflecting the discussion setting UN's sustainable goals, the development in developing countries is emphasized as a fundamental for food security and improved livelihood
3) Resilience of community

(The Declaration for Japan)

So, what does this consensus mean for Japan?
It is quite clear that messages in the Declaration are directly related to Japanese policy challenges such as the role of forests in recreation of the rural land and for disaster (resilience). However, other important themes for Japan such as urban forestry in developed urbanizing society, the role of timber in heavily industrialized business and consumers practices in developed markets and sustainable forest management were broadly discussed in the sessions but were not always sufficiently reflected in the Declaration.

(Japan's output at WFC2015)

Mr. Oki, Deputy Director General of Japan Forestry Agency spoke at the one of the session "Bringing wood from sustainable forests to our home and life" in sub theme dialogue 2) Building resilience with forests.

Sustainable Forest Forum’s side event
Cooperation with green consumers toward demand expansion of sustainable timber products

Regeneration of coastal forests affected by tsunami
The side event titled CHISAN – Evolving Japanese traditional ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction technology. introduces a presentation "Regeneration of coastal forests affected by tsunami" by Dr. Tomoki Sakamoto, Tohoku Research Center of the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute.

(Message about enhancement of wood use in WFC)

The discussion about timber use did not very much attracted attention in WFC, but will be uploaded in order in wrap-up.

Session 2. Bringing wood from sustainable forests to our home and life

WFC XIV side event
Cooperation with green consumers toward demand expansion of sustainable timber products