Cyril Ramaphosa, deputy president of South Africa

It’s the 7th September 2015 and long lines are forming in front of the International Congress Center in Durban, South Africa. Nice early spring sun is shining upon a very colorful group of people queuing in front of the International Congress Center. Chatter in different, mostly international, languages can be heard if one would listen to the ongoing conversations. The crowd has assembled for the official opening of the XIV World Forestry Congress. The congress is opened by a parade by the Working on Fire organization, and then the crowd moves in to listen to address by the high-profile speakers. Everybody expected the deputy president to speak, but have to wait as his journey takes longer than expected.

Finally, he arrives and gives an excellent speech, which echoes through the hall and through the world wide web, filling with atmosphere with facts such as: “The sustainable management of forests is critical as we battle global warming.” and “82 % of energy needs in African housing is supplied in the form of wood products from African forests.” He honored the present delegates: “Hosting the World Forestry Congress for the first time in the African soil is an honor to us South Africans.” and finished with a statement that insipred the crowd: “Go ahead and put forests on the national agenda of all the countries in the world!” (full transcript of the speech is available here)

Over 3000 delegates, experts, researches, forestry practitioners etc. from more than 50 countries of the world are going to visit the Congress during the course of the week. The event combines high-level plenary sessions, where discussion on globally important topics are going to take place with more than 100 special events that concern specialists in certain fields. One of these events will be hosted by the Slovenian Forestry Institute. It is titled “EUFORINNO – European forest research and innovation – supporting and monitoring resilience of forests to climate change,” and will feature short presentations on forest ecosystem research and the outputs of the EUFORINNO project. One of the more specific themes is forest genetic monitoring (the LIFEGENMON project is also going to be presented during this event).

The congress is covered by approx. 200 international media members and a social media team. Tune into the #Forests2015 twitter search and this website to find out more.


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