International Day of Forests Conference Addresses Sustainable Forest Management in Arctic

Sustainable forest management is one of the priorities of Russia’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 20212023, Ambassador-at-Large of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Chair of the Senior Arctic Officials Nikolay Korchunov said at a conference to mark the International Day of Forests, which is celebrated on 21 March. This year, the events of the International Day of Forests are dedicated to the theme ‘Forests and Sustainable Production and Consumption’. Celebrations in Russia are dedicated to the role of forests in the North.

The event was attended by government representatives of Russia, Armenia, and Belarus as well as experts from international organizations: the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Liaison Office with the Russian Federation, the United Nations Environment Programme, and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. The participants discussed issues related to forest policy and science as well as their relationship with international solutions in sustainable development, climate and ecosystem restoration.

“A cross-cutting priority of Russia’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council is the issue of sustainable development with a harmonious combination of its environmental, economic, and social dimensions. This absolutely applies to sustainable forest management,” Korchunov said.

Korchunov emphasized that the Arctic Council has a Working Group on the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF), which deals with issues related to the biological diversity of the Arctic and presents the results of its research to the authorities and inhabitants of Arctic countries.

“The Arctic Council recently considered the topic of forest conservation, including in the context of fighting forest fires. In this regard, one of the main priorities of Russia’s chairmanship is to strengthen regional cooperation to prevent and eliminate emergency situations in the Arctic, including forest fires,” Korchunov said.

In particular, the Arctic Council has launched the Project for Environmental Mapping and Monitoring of Forest Fires in the Arctic, which aims to improve the understanding of fire ecology as well as reduce the threat of wildfires. As part of the project, an annual digital Arctic fire monitoring journal is being drafted that includes relevant environmental and fire-related studies of Indigenous Peoples. The impact of wildfires on Arctic ecosystems, air quality, and climate change is also being assessed.

In addition, the Arctic Council is implementing the Wildfire Coordinated Prevention Project, which aims to improve the algorithms that Arctic States and permanent participants use to jointly respond to forest fires in high latitudes.

The conference was organized by the Federal Forestry Agency and the FAO Liaison Office with the Russian Federation. The Roscongress Foundation organizes events during Russia’s chairmanship in the Arctic Council.