This is the key message of the Vancouver Invitation on Forest Products for a Better Future, a bold and forward-looking statement of intent to harness the environmental, economic and social benefits of sustainable forest management.Innovative and sustainably produced wood products, when coupled with sustainable forest management, can ‘build the future’ and contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Invitation was developed with Canada and with the support and input from UNECE countries. It garnered support by more than 200 government officials, representatives from the wood products and construction sectors and civil society actors from around 50 countries, who gathered in Vancouver, Canada, for the 76th Session of the UNECE Committee on Forests and the Forest Industry (COFFI).
Under the title ‘Building the Future with Forests’, the conference provided an opportunity to explore key developments and sustainable solutions for the wood products sector, specifically the possibilities of using wood in construction and the opportunities for creating a circular economy.
“The Government of Canada understands the benefits that forest products play in meeting climate targets, creating jobs, stimulating economic growth and building more resilient communities. As the world embraces new clean, renewable energy, wood – from sustainably managed forests – is poised to play an increasingly important role. This is why we are making strategic investments now – in areas such as tall wood construction and the emerging bio-economy – to ensure Canada remains a global forestry leader well into the future,” said Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi,.
The environmental benefits provided by forests, such as water and air purification, soil formation, carbon storage, and biodiversity conservation are hard to ignore. It is, however, less known that forest products also play an important role in the broader context of achieving sustainable development.
“Forests, if managed properly, can provide life-supporting ecosystem services, while at the same time delivering materials for renewable and recyclable products, in place of more polluting and carbon-emitting materials. Forests, and the forest product sector, therefore have an essential role to play in the future of our planet. But in order to serve this role, a commitment on the part of all of us to both sustainable forest management and to continued innovation in the wood products sector is critical,” said UNECE Executive Secretary Olga Algayerova.