Engaging Discussions on the Nordic Input

Mar 6, 2024

The final session on the Nordic and Baltic input to the Stockholms Congress statement was held today in Stockholm. About 60 diverse stakeholders discussed the future role of forests in society by 2050. The session emphasized collaboration and strategic foresight in forest management.

One important legacy of the upcoming IUFRO World Congress is the Stockholm Congress statement, charting the future global agenda of forest-related science. Stakeholders in the Nordic and Baltic countries have been engaged in contributing to the Nordic and Baltic input to the statement. During several sessions and seminars during 2023 and 2024 valuable input has been made, ending today at an open seminar in Stockholm.

Karin Perhans, Deputy Head at the research institute Formas, underscored the importance of collaborative advancement, stating, “We need to push best practice forward and learn from each other. We can’t solve the challenges on our own but together it is possible.” This sentiment echoed throughout the seminar where many participants stressed collective efforts to address the multifaceted values and challenges associated with forests, advocating for a unified approach to determine and prioritize these values for present and future needs.

The discussions built upon earlier insights from Round Table sessions, which have highlighted three significant trends: the accelerating pace of global change, the increasing societal reliance on forests, and the pressing need for strategic and bold actions today. Forests were acknowledged not only as crucial ecosystems for sustaining life on Earth and providing space for fulfilment of essential human needs, but also as key drivers in the transition towards a bioeconomy, thereby decoupling economic growth from fossil fuel dependency.

Participants at the open seminar outlined a vision for 2050 where forests play a decisive role in society, necessitating balanced and holistic forest policies, participatory governance, interdisciplinary collaboration, heightened public awareness, and innovative reforms for sustainable natural resource management.

Ingeborg Bromée, Senior Advisor to the Swedish government, recognized the unique opportunity presented by the congress: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to make an impact on forest issues worldwide and showcase our region’s way of managing forests.”

Göran Ericsson, Dean & Professor at the Faculty of Forest Sciences SLU, called for cross-sectoral collaboration and co-creation towards sustainable forest use, emphasizing the need for “bold and long-term strategic decisions about the role and the use of forests.”

Adding to the discourse, Jonas Rönnberg, Head of Nordic Forest Research – SNS, highlighted the crucial role of science in informing policy decisions: “We need to make policymakers listen more to scientists. We need to put science forward to avoid populism and fake facts that counteract our efforts to define the role of forests in future society.”

The seminar also addressed critical issues such as international cooperation, land rights, environmental protection, social inequalities, public engagement, and the integration of forest owners’ perspectives in policy-making.

The open seminar marks the end of dialogue process. The many inputs will now be compiled by the IUFRO World Congress Secretariat and handed over to the IUFRO President as a regional input to the global research agenda – the Stockholm Congress statement. The compilation will also serve as input to the ministerial panel discussion on the closing day of the Congress.

See also earlier news:

Round Table Charting the Future of Forests

Young Foresters Inspire Hope

Youth Calls for Systemic Change and Climate Justice

Material:

Presentation from the open seminar