Forestry Indaba launches the countdown to South Africa hosting the XIV World Forestry Congress
A cross section of South Africans involved in forests and forestry gathered at the idyllic Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s (NMMU), George campus for the three day, 2015 Forestry Indaba, co-sponsored by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
This bi-annual event was themed, Forestry and People: Investing in a Sustainable Future, to mirror the XIV World Forestry Congress (WFC), which is taking place at the International Convention Centre, Durban (7-11 September, 2015).
In a very real sense, this gathering of academics, students, private sector, government and communities living in forest and forestry areas, represents South Africa’s preparations to engage in the agenda of the XIV World Forestry Congress.
The participants to the Indaba were welcomed to the forestry campus, known commonly as Saasveld, by the Principal, Professor Quinton Johnson, in the opening plenary. Secretary General of the XIV WFC, Mr Trevor Abrahams then provided an overview of South Africa’s preparations, with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), to host the first World Forestry Congress to be held in Africa since its inception in 1926.
The Director General of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Prof. Edith Vries also delivered an impassioned analysis of the importance of this congress to our future sustainable development.
Later, delegates got to work in a series of parallel sessions which mirrored the sub-themes planned for the XIV World Forestry Congress. Additional sessions were devoted to the progress of Transformation in South African Forestry, as well as the Role of Youth in Forestry Development.
The Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, General Bheki Cele, made an impassioned appeal for everyone to recognize the critical importance of forestry in the context of the negatives effects of climate change.
“Forests are the lungs of the earth and if we continue to abuse our planet, nature will punish us”, says General Cele. He underscored the vital importance of developing our forest resources, if we are to ensure sustainable development for our future generations.
The conclusions of the 2015 Forestry Indaba will inform the participation of many South African delegates in the XIV WFC. It is expected that some 5,000 delegates, from all over the world, will converge on the Durban ICC between the 7-11 September 2015.
For any further information:
XIV World Forestry Congress
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