2021: key conference year for tropical timber

While the Covid-19 pandemic may affect scheduling and the form they take, the year 2021 is set to be an important year for international conferences with interest and potential impacts for tropical timber and forestry sectors.

The World Forestry Congress in Seoul, now rescheduled to 24-28 May 2021, will address the state and future of forests globally and efforts to achieve sustainable development goals in the context of recovery from Covid-19.

It will look to define the role of forests in the 2030 global development agenda and other policy frameworks, such as the Paris Agreement and Global Forest Goals. It also aims to identify measures needed for the forest sector to contribute to the post-pandemic objective to ‘build back better’.

The 15th meeting of the United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Kunming, China, rescheduled to the second half of 2021, will see adoption of a post-2020 global biodiversity framework with the goal of mainstreaming biodiversity into national development plans worldwide.

The draft framework sets out five long-term biodiversity goals for 2050 and 20 targets to achieve by 2030. Among the aims are to reduce extinctions and increase endangered species populations.

It also sets a goal for nature to contribute ‘at least (30%) of efforts to achieve targets of the Paris Agreement on climate change’.

The Carrefour International du Bois exhibition is scheduled to take place from May 26-28 at the Parc Beaujoire in Nantes, France. The biannual event is billed as Europe’s leading exclusively timber trade exhibition.

The last show attracted 11,500 visitors from 85 countries and 563 exhibitors. The STTC and ATIBT/Fair&Precious are set to contribute to the conference programme.

A core theme of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress in Marseilles (France) from September 3-11 will also be ‘nature-based climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts’.

“The full potential of the world’s natural carbon sinks and reservoirs that can contribute to a climate-resilient and biodiversity-rich future has yet to be unlocked,” states the IUCN. “This will require strengthening of capacity for ecosystem planning and management. Policy and decision-making may require trade-offs to optimise benefits for biodiversity and climate change.”

Among the topics of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow (UK) from November 1-12 will be ‘green recovery’; taking the opportunity of reconstruction from pandemic to move to a lower environmental impact global economic model.

In the lead up to the Conference, the COP26 and Tropical Forest Alliance have launched the Forest, Agriculture and Commodity Trade (FACT) Dialogues project.

The aim is to accelerate transition towards more sustainable land use practices and create ‘new opportunities for investment, jobs and livelihoods in forests, land use and agriculture and to ensure economies have a sustainable relationship with forests’.

As part of this, multi-stakeholder consultations involving representatives of all parts of the forest and forest products supply chain are convening to feed their views to governments.

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