Greetings to the Koli Forum

The European Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potočnik senthis greetings to the Koli Forum by video.

A much needed task of producing a degree of consensus

Dr. Li Nuyun , Secretary General, China Green Carbon Foundation,
State Forestry Administration, Beijing
5 September 2011

It gives me great pleasure to extend very warm greetings on behalf of the China Green Carbon Foundation to the Koli Forum on “Europe 2020: Resources for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth – Renewable forest and bioenergy” being held in the Koli National Park in Finland in September 2011. This biennial Forum is performing the much-needed task of producing a degree of consensus among leading European thinkers and professionals on resolving critical issues in the management of natural resources. Europe has a great intellectual tradition running over centuries that has led to some of the greatest discoveries and production of the highest forms of art and literature and I am sure this Forum will prove to be a further stage in the development of this long and great tradition of which Europeans are so justifiably proud.

Climate change, as one of the most serious environmental issues, is challenging this intellectual tradition. The China Green Carbon Foundation is dedicated to combating climate change through afforestation, forest management, and other activities associated with increasing carbon sink and reducing emissions in China. We are eagerly looking forward to the outcome of deliberations at this event. And we hope that the Forum will continue to serve forests and the environment in the years to come. This is a most critical juncture in the history of human existence, when the changing climate exposes us to a degree of risk and uncertainty that will need to be tackled by the combined resources of all countries and regions of the world. The China Green Carbon Foundation stands committed to walk in step with the rest of the world to address this challenge.


Improving livelihoods

Dr Li Zhiyong
Deputy Director General
International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), Beijing
September 1, 2011

I note with pleasure that the Koli Forum of Finland is organizing an important event on “Europe 2020: Resources for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth – Renewable forest and bioenergy” from September 14-17, 2011, in the picturesque Koli National Park, which will provide a platform to a number of leading personalities from all spheres of human endeavour to deliberate on the challenges and possibilities that lie ahead in managing earth’s most precious natural resource, the forests.Apart from timber, bamboo and rattan are the two forest resources with the greatest potential to share the challenges faced by the global community, especially in mitigating climate change, conserving the environment, improving the livelihoods of the poorest people and promoting inclusive growth.

The outcome of this event would constitute an important input to the UN Climate Conference in South Africa later this year and also to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro the following year. As a member of the INBAR, it is my proud privilege to extend warm greetings to the Koli Forum and the learned participants in the event.

North Karelia – smart, sustainable and inclusive growth based on forests

Dr. Pentti Hyttinen, Region Mayor,
Chairman of the Koli Forum Steering Group

By creating an innovative milieu and investing in infrastructure, decision makers in North Karelia expect to increase employment opportunities and to raise the economic benefits obtained from forests.

The home region of the Koli Forum – North Karelia – is the easternmost region of Finland and also of the continental European Union, sharing a common border of approximately 300 km with Russia.

In regional development strategies, a great deal of emphasis has been put on the higher value added and especially on more innovative utilisation of forest resources.

During the past three decades, North Karelia, and particularly the city of Joensuu, has become a centre of know-how in the forest sector. The initial stimulus was the establishment of the Joensuu Research Station of the Finnish Forest Research Institute in 1981 and then the start of university education in forestry in 1982. The region is also home to the European Forest Institute which started its operation in 1993.

The rich combination of forest resources, forest industries and forestry know-how in the region has led to North Karelia being called “Europe’s Forest Region and the City of Joensuu the “Forest Capital of Europe”.

By creating an innovative milieu and investing in infrastructure, decision makers expect the forest sector to increase employment opportunities and to raise the economic benefits obtained from forests.

Forest-related activities have a significant impact on employment with over 5,000 people earning their living directly from forestry or forest industry – and taking into account the income effect from timber sales to the forest owners, this figure is even doubled. The sector is the most important provider of export income in the region.

A total of 1.6 million ha, which makes up 90 % of the total land area of North Karelia, is classified as forests and other woodland. Forest ownership is divided almost equally into four categories: state, forest industry companies, farmers and private non-farmers. There are close to 20,000 private forest owners in the region.

Income from forestry is particularly crucial in rural areas. Forestry also represents a particularly influential sphere of activity in industrial production in North Karelia. Several large sawmills, Enocell (one of the world’s largest cellulose factories) John Deere and Kesla (leading manufacturers of forestry logging and hauling machinery) and many other firms are operating in the region.

As to the generation of employment, bioenergy, mechanical wood processing, together with applications in material technology and the use of wood for construction, offer the most promising future prospects. Large-scale forest industry companies form the back-bone of regional income generation, even though they are nowadays less dependent on regional timber supply.

It has to be emphasised that it is not only the forest products industry or intensified use of forest resources, but also the multiple other uses of forests that can create new job opportunities and widen the occupational base of rural regions.

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