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Forests Policy & Practice

Metsä2013 - Joint Session of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Committee on Forests and the Forest Industry and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) European Forestry Commission

9-13 December 2013 | Rovaniemi, Finland

Daily web coverage (click on the following links to see our daily web pages)
Highlights for Friday, 13 December 2013

On Friday, delegates took part in a field trip hosted by Metsähallitus, the Finnish state-owned forestry enterprise. They visited a major logging site managed by Metsähallitus near the city of Rovaniemi, crossing the Arctic circle on the way.

Accompanied by Santa Claus and by Kii Korhonen, Metsähallitus’ Regional Director for Lapland, participants witnessed a logging machine in action. This machine cuts trees, removes bark and branches and delivers sizable trunk pieces, all in a matter of seconds. Korhonen explained that Metsähallitus manages 12 million hectares of state-owned forest land for logging, recreation and conservation purposes. Overall, it harvests around 60 percent of its annual wood increment per year, which amounts to 60 million cubic meters. Metsähallitus manages the logging, logistics and distribution of wood – mainly pine, but also some spruce and birch. Its clients are private companies in northern Scandinavia, and include sawmills as well as pulp and paper factories. The logging and hauling activities are carried out by contractors and are controlled on-site using advanced logging and GPS technology.

After the logging demonstration, with the sun only slightly above the horizon at mid-day, delegates enjoyed traditional reindeer soup, hot juice and cakes at an open fire. They also witnessed some ice fishing activities at a nearby lake and returned to Rovaniemi in the dark, in the early afternoon.

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Participants walking on the frozen lake.
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Highlights for Thursday, 12 December 2013

Metsä2013 reconvened on Thursday morning to consider the draft integrated programme of work 2014-2017 for the UNECE Committee on Forests and the Forest Industry (COFFI) and the FAO European Forestry Commission (EFC), including the Terms of Reference for subsidiary bodies (Joint Working Party for Forest Statistics, Economics and Management and Teams of Specialists). There was a lengthy discussion on reference to the frequency with which the COFFI and the ECF would meet jointly. In the end, delegates agreed to a proposal to the effect that "the two bodies are encouraged to continue holding joint meetings in line with established practice and with the aim to further strengthen cooperation and exploit synergies."

In the afternoon, delegates discussed the FAO Sustainable Forest Management Toolbox, guidelines for national forest monitoring, a guidance tool for managing wildland fires, and the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests. They also addressed preparation for the next World Forestry Congress, and recommendations to the FAO Regional Conference for Europe and to the FAO Committee on Forestry. Both the COFFI and the EFC elected new Bureau members and decided on the timing and venues of their next sessions. It was decided that the next joint COFFI/EFC meeting will take place in Switzerland in 2015.

In the evening, Metsä2013 reconvened to adopt the draft Market Statement and the meeting report. Co-Chair Heikki Granholm (Finland) closed the meeting late in the evening.

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Room view during the afternoon session
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From L-R: Andrey Vasilyev, Deputy Executive Secretary, UNECE; Co-Chair Heikki Granholm, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Finland; Co-Chair Andrey Filipchuk, Deputy Director of the Russian Federal Forestry Agency; Dominique Reeb, UNECE/FAO; Eduardo Rojas-Briales, Assistant Director-General, Forestry Department, FAO
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Co-Chairs Heikki Granholm, Finland and Andrey Filipchuk, Russian Federation
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Eduardo Rojas-Briales, Assistant Director-General, Forestry Department, FAO
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Dominique Reeb, UNECE/FAO
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Arnaud Brizay, UNECE/FAO
Knut Øistad, Norway
Andras Szepezi, Hungary
Johann Dengg, Germany
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Christine Farcy, Belgium
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Conceição Ferreira, Portugal
Highlights for Wednesday, 11 December 2013

On Wednesday, Metsä2013 delegates convened in the morning in a session chaired by Metsä2013 Co-Chair Filipchuk to consider FAO European Forestry Commission (EFC) matters, namely: follow-up to the decisions of the 36th EFC session; recent activities of the FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia; recent activities of the FAO Committee on Mediterranean Forestry Questions, Silva Mediterranea; review of the mandate and modus operandi of the EFC Working Party on Management of Mountain Watersheds; and the FAO strategic Framework, the FAO Strategic Evaluation, and implementation of recommendations.

The following session, chaired by Co-Chair Granholm, considered the UNECE Committee on Forests and Forest Industries matters, namely: matters arising from the 65th session of the UNECE; matters arising from the 70th session of the Committee; and the ECE biennial evaluation plan and programme of work 2014-2015. In a parallel session, a roundtable chaired by Nina Dobrzynska, Ministry of Environment, Poland, discussed measuring and communicating the contribution of the forest sector to a green economy.

In an afternoon plenary session, delegates considered the outcome of the 10th session of UN Forum on Forests and implications for the UNECE region. Under the agenda items on Joint Committee/Commission matters, delegates first heard briefings on the New EU Forest strategy, recent developments in Forest Europe and the International Negotiating Committee for a Legally Binding Agreement on Forests in Europe. At the end of the afternoon, delegates adopted the Rovaniemi Action Plan for the Forest Sector in a Green Economy.

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The Rovaniemi Christmas tree, next to the meeting venue
FAO European Forestry Commission matters
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From L-R: Ekrem Yazici, FAO; Norbert Winkler-Ráthonyi, FAO; Co-Chair Andrey Filipchuk, Deputy Director of the Russian Federal Forestry Agency; Eduardo Rojas-Briales, Assistant Director-General, Forestry Department, FAO
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Dominique Reeb, UNECE/FAO
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Co-Chair Andrey Filipchuk, Deputy Director of the Russian Federal Forestry Agency
Thomas Hofer, FAO
Ekrem Yazici, FAO
Eduardo Rojas-Briales, Assistant Director-General, Forestry Department, FAO
UNECE Committee on Forests and the Forest Industry matters
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From L-R: Paola Deda, UNECE/FAO; Co-Chair Heikki Granholm, Finland; Andrey Vasilyev, Deputy Executive Secretary, UNECE; Eduardo Rojas-Briales, Assistant Director-General, Forestry Department, FAO
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Co-Chair Heikki Granholm, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Finland
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Andrey Vasilyev, Deputy Executive Secretary, UNECE
Highlights for Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Metsä2013 reconvened today in Rovaniemi, Finland. In the morning, delegates adopted the agenda without amendment.

Market discussions
In the morning, Metsä2013 Co-Chair Heikki Granholm (Finland) chaired a roundtable discussion on the latest information regarding trends and trade of forest products in the UNECE region. Florian Steierer, UNECE Secretariat, introduced the discussion, noting that its outcomes will feed into the draft Market Statement that will emanate from Metsä2013 (ECE/TIM/2013/3−FO:EFC/2013/3).

Antti Koskinen, senior consultant at Pöyry Management Consulting, presented key findings of the European part of the UNECE/FAO Forest Products Annual Market Review 2012-2013. He said structural changes are needed to sustain a healthy forest industry. Ramazan Bali, Harvesting and Marketing Department, Turkish General Directorate of Forestry, elaborated on developments in the forest market in Turkey.

Vladimir Styazhkin, Russian State Research Center of the Timber Industry Complex, presented the Russian market overview, noting large regional differences in the situation of the forest industry. Gordon Culbertson, Forest2Markets Inc., presented the North American market overview. He highlighted regional differences and trends among the main producing areas in the US and Canada.

Engaging the private sector
In the afternoon, Gordon Culbertson, Forest2Market Inc., moderated a roundtable on engaging the private sector, which addressed the following question: “What are the opportunities and challenges in the forest products industries that policy makers and others should be aware of to maintain a thriving forest industry?”

Eight speakers, representing various major private players in the international forestry arena, presented their experiences and views regarding this question. They discussed various innovative approaches to, among other things, forest ownership, construction and architecture, and adding value to forest products along the value chain. They concluded that “everything that is made of oil can be made of wood,” and called for improved and open communication with policy makers to ensure that standards and regulations are in line with the needs and realities of the private sector.

FAO global activities of relevance to the meeting
In the afternoon, in a session chaired by Metsä2013 Co-Chair Andrey Filipchuk (Russian Federation), Christophe Besacier, FAO, presented the progress on the preparation of the State and Conservation of the World's Forest Genetic Resources (FGR) and the Global Plan of Action for the Conservation, Sustainable Use and Development of Forest Genetic Resources (ECE/TIM/2013/Inf.4−FO:EFC/2013/Inf.4 and Appendix).

Delegates also discussed the role of forests in ensuring food security. Peter Csóka, FAO, presented highlights from the International Conference on Forests for Food Security and Nutrition, held in May 2013 at FAO Headquarters. He underscored the need for: securing access for forest-dependent communities to forest resources; cross-sectoral policy approaches; more integrated land use planning; and restoration of degraded lands.

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A view of the arctic scenery
Engaging the Private Sector roundtable
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The panel during the roundtable discussion
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Mike Jostrom, Director of Renewable Resources, Plum Creek Timber Company
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Kimmo Järvinen, Secretary General, European Organization of the Sawmill Industry
Matti Mikkola, Senior Vice President, Building Solutions, Stora Enso
Bernard-Yves Capelle, Architect
Bernard de Galembert, Forest and Innovation Director, Social Affairs Director, CEPI
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Martin Forsén, Chief Executive Officer, Domsjö Fiber
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Stefan Sundman, UPM – Kymmene Corporation
World’s Forest Genetic Resources and
Conference on Forests for Food Security
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Room view during the parallel session
Co-Chair Andrey Filipchuk, Deputy Director of the Russian Federal Forestry Agency
Peter Csóka, FAO
Christophe Besacier, FAO
Highlights for Monday, 9 December 2013

The joint session of the UNECE Committee on Forests and the Forest Industry and the FAO European Forestry Commission opened today at Hotel Santa Claus in Rovaniemi, Finland. The event is called Metsä2013, with "metsä" meaning forest in Finnish, and is organized in parallel with the second European Forest Week. The session is expected to focus on market discussions, on engaging the private sector and on measuring the green economy in forests.

Opening Ceremony
Juha Ojala, Deputy Chair of the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, chaired the Metsä2013 Opening Ceremony. He stressed that the objective of the joint session is to share a long-term vision of Europe's future forests and sustainable forest management for a green economy.

After enjoying a performance of traditional Sàmi music, participants heard addresses by forestry student Vera Chapchikova, winner of the 10th International Junior Forest Contest, and by Santa Claus, who resides near the city of Rovaniemi. Participants also heard presentations by: Esko Lotvonen, Mayor of Rovaniemi; Sven Alkalaj, Executive Secretary of UNECE; and Eduardo Rojas-Briales, Head of the FAO Forestry Department.

A panel discussion was held, chaired by Juha Ojala and Metsä2013 Co-Chairs Heikki Granholm, Director of the Natural Resources Department, Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, and Andrey Filipchuk, Deputy Director of the Russian Federal Forestry Agency. The panel discussion started with a keynote presentation by Jürgen Blaser, Bern University of Applied Science and Swiss Global Forest Advisor. He elaborated on 300 years of scientific forestry and its implications for the future. Delegates then heard panel presentations by: Alexander Panfilov, Deputy Head of the Russian Federal Forestry Agency; Magnus Kindbom, Swedish State Secretary of Rural Affairs; and Janusz Zaleski, Polish Deputy Minister of Environment.

Co-Chair Granholm then introduced a new UNECE/FAO film named "European forest innovation: charting a path towards a green economy", which highlighted Finland’s innovative approach towards using wood as a construction material. Switzerland announced its offer to host the third European Forest Week in 2015.

Later in the evening, participants gathered for a public, outdoor opening ceremony at the Museum Arktikum in Rovaniemi.

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A band opened the session, singing traditional Sàmi songs around Santa Claus.
Opening session
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From L-R: Eduardo Rojas-Briales, Head of the FAO Forestry Department; Co-Chair Andrey Filipchuk, Deputy Director of the Russian Federal Forestry Agency; Alexander Panfilov, Deputy Head of the Russian Federal Forestry Agency; Chair of the Opening Ceremony Juha Ojala, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Finland; Co-Chair Heikki Granholm, Director of the Natural Resources Department, Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry; Sven Alkalaj, Executive Secretary, UNECE
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Chair of the Opening Ceremony Juha Ojala, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Finland
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Santa Claus
Esko Lotvonen, Mayor of the city of Rovaniemi
Sven Alkalaj, UNECE Executive Secretary
Eduardo Rojas-Briales, Head of the FAO Forestry Department
Vera Chapchikova, winner of the 10th International Junior Forest Contest
Paola Deda and Dominique Reeb, UNECE/FAO
Jürgen Blaser, Bern University of Applied Science and Swiss Global Forest Advisor
Janusz Zaleski, Polish Deputy Minister of Environment
Magnus Kindbom, Swedish State Secretary of Rural Affairs
Alexander Panfilov, Deputy Head of the Russian Federal Forestry Agency
Public opening ceremony
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Following the official Opening Ceremony, delegates took part in a public, outdoor opening ceremony at the Museum Arktikum in Rovaniemi, where they enjoyed local music and drinks in a scenic winter setting.
Daily web coverage (click on the following links to see our daily web pages)
Related Links
Session resources

*Session website and documents

*Session agenda

*Draft UNECE/FAO Action Plan for the Forest Sector in a Green Economy

*Draft Integrated Programme of Work 2014-2017 for UNECE/FAO

*Side and parallel events


IISD RS resources

*IISD RS coverage of the Resumed Fourth Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for a Legally-Binding Agreement on Forests in Europe (INC-Forests4), 7-8 November 2013, Geneva, Switzerland

*IISD RS coverage of INC-Forests4, 10-14 June 2013, Warsaw, Poland

*IISD RS coverage of the Tenth Session of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF10), 8-19 April 2013, Istanbul, Turkey

*IISD RS coverage of Resumed INC-Forest3, 3-5 April 2013, Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation

*IISD RS coverage of INC-Forests3, 28 January - 1 February 2013, Antalya, Turkey

*IISD RS coverage of Twelfth Rights and Resources Initiative Dialogue on Forests, Governance and Climate Change, 5 November 2012, Washington, DC, United States of America

*IISD RS summary report of INC-Forests2, 3-7 September 2012, Bonn, Germany (HTML - PDF)

*IISD RS coverage of the FOREST EUROPE Ministerial Conference Oslo 2011, 29 14-16 June 2011, Oslo, Norway

*IISD RS coverage of the UNFF9, 24 January - 4 February 2011, UN Headquarters, New York, United States of America

*IISD RS coverage of the Twentieth Session of the Committee on Forestry of the FAO, 4-8 October 2010, FAO Headquarters, Rome, Italy

*IISD RS archive of forestry meetings and backgrounder

*Forests-L - A news and announcement list on forest policy issues

*Forests Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of International Activities Adressing Forests Policy

*Linkages Update - Bi-weekly international environment and sustainable development news
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