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Asia-Pacific Forestry Week Focuses on New Challenges and Opportunities

11 November 2011: The Asia-Pacific Forestry Week 2011 brought together around 1500 people to discuss forests and forestry in Asia and the Pacific. The event was organized under the theme "New Challenges, New Opportunities," and participants discussed governance, communication and the future of the region's forests.

The Week took place held in Beijing, China, from 7-11 November 2011, and was organized by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Asia-Pacific Network for Sustainable Forest Management and Rehabilitation (APFNet). During the opening plenary, speakers stressed the multiple functions of forests, the numerous initiatives that have halted or reversed deforestation in the Asia-Pacific region, and the importance of cross-sector engagement for forest initiatives.

During a plenary session on governance challenges and their impacts on forests, panelists discussed the definition of “governance," the key attributes of governance that are important to forest and land management, as well as achievements and advancements in governance made in the region over the past decade. Corruption and illegal logging were identified as pressing issues in the region.

The session on communications, "New Media – New Messages: Forestry Communications in Asia and the Pacific," focused on how to get a message across successfully in the current media-saturated landscape.

In the final plenary session on the future of forestry in Asia and the Pacific, speakers highlighted inter alia, the risks for the forestry sector of disruptions in the global economy, the role of forests in a green economy, and the importance of social capital in forestry.

Parallel sessions were held on a variety of topics, such as financing sustainable forest management and indigenous peoples' rights and empowerment. Partner events were also held, including one on climate change and carbon management in the context of climate change. The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), which supported the participation of 18 Pacific island delegates, hosted side events on opportunities in Pacific forestry and on activities for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD) in the Pacific region. [FAO Blog of Meeting] [SPC Press Release]