Focal point: Paola Deda
The 72nd session of the UNECE Committee on Forests and the Forest Industry (COFFI) took place in Kazan, Russian Federation, Republic of Tatarstan from 18 to 21 November 2014.
The meeting focused on the implementation of the Rovaniemi Action Plan for the Forest Sector in a Green Economy. It showcased how actors within and outside the forest sector seized the opportunity to work together to make the best contribution to the emerging Green Economy. Their inputs are very diverse: from improving forest-based technologies to developing innovative wood and non-wood forest products; from making forest work safer to valuing and setting up payments for the multiple services that forests offers to the society in the UNECE region.
Delegates to the Committee session discussed forest resources assessment and reporting issues, as well as the role of forests in the post-2015 development agenda. They also provided guidance to the secretariat on how to implement the UNECE/FAO Integrated Programme of Work adopted in December 2013.
After a 3 day meeting (18, 19 and 20 November), delegates had the opportunity, on November 21, to attend a field trip at the invitation of the Ministry of Forestry of the Tatarstan Republic.
In the heart of the Russian Federation, where the west and east meet, lies the Republic of Tartarstan. Its capital, Kazan, is the largest center of culture, science, research, trade and industry of the economically developed Volga region.
Kazan is one of the most populated cities in Russia and it also shows a remarkable economic capacity thanks to its industrial complex that varies from heavy industry—aircraft and helicopters manufacturing—to specialized industrial production—polyethylene and synthetic rubber, medical and optics equipment.
In addition to its history as an industrial centre, Kazan is rebranding as the forest capital of the Volga region. Ecological and environmental issues are generally taken into serious consideration, but a particular attention is devoted to forest management. Kazan is in fact the site of Europe’s largest breeding and seed center, producing 12 million containerized seedlings per year. Similar attention is also paid to the prevention of forest fires, and to the implementation of the most developed technologies in forest logging and wood processing.
Thanks to this focus on forestry, Kazan has become an important hub for national and international forest-related events:
The meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation on illegal logging in 2012;
The regional forum “Forest and Man” in 2013, in conjunction with the “Wood Processing” exhibition, which attracted 70 companies;
The meetings and final contest of Junior Foresters in 2011 and 2012, which brought hundreds of forestry students from all over Russia to Kazan.
In summer 2013, Kazan hosted the 27th University Games, the biggest ever “Universiade” and welcomed over 10,000 Athletes from more than 160 countries.