On 21 March 2017, in celebration of International Day of Forests, IUCN Europe participated in “The Value of Wood Forum”. Organised by REVOLVE Media and hosted by Paul Brannen, Member of the European Parliament Socialists & Democrats Group (S&D), at the Residence Palace in Brussels, Belgium, the event brought together policy-makers and stakeholders to discuss the diverse benefits of utilising wood and its place in the energy market.
The Forum consisted of two panel sessions: the first, moderated by MEP Paul Brannen (S&D/UK), discussed Sustainable Architecture and Construction and the second, moderated by MEP Henna Virkunnen (EPP/FI), explored Wood, Innovation and the Bioeconomy.
IUCN contributed to the second panel debate providing a nature conservation angle to the discussion; reminding participants of the relevance of the ecological restoration of degraded forest ecosystems. In particular, IUCN pointed out to the opportunities derived from the Bonn Challenge, a global target to restore 150 million hectares by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030. IUCN was joined on the panel by Thorsten Arndt, from PEFC International; Patrick Worms from Wold Agroforestry Centre; Johan Elvnert from FTP; and Fanny-Pomme Langue from AEBIOM.
The Forum launched the second annual Forest City Project, a public information campaign and exhibition organised by REVOLVE Media. The visual displays of forests from all corners of the globe can be found in the Park Cinquantenaire from now until 5 June 2017. Alongside several other partners, IUCN supports this project for the second year in a row.
The Forum ended with closing remarks from Jeremy Wall, DG Grow, European Commission, who mentioned the need to conserve the 30,000 different species of trees known today. He also considered trees found outside of forested areas and what we can do to try to regain the millions of these trees that have now been lost and that could provide real added value to both humans and nature.
IUCN also recently contributed to an article on “Restoring the connection between forests and human health” as part of REVOLVE Media’s spring issue dedicated to forests. Read the full issue here.