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European Forest Week

20-24 October 2008 | Rome, Italy

Highlights for Monday, 20 October 2008


Events to mark the European Forest Week, which was mandated by the 2007 Ministerial Conference for the Protection of Forests in Europe, kicked-off across Europe on Monday 20 October 2008. A day-long workshop hosted by the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) on the “Roles of Wood in Green Building and Green Building Effects on the Forest Sector in the UNECE Region,” constituted the first of several events scheduled to take place in Rome, Italy.

Above photo: European Forest Week at the FAO atrium.




Opening statements were made by (L-R) Maurizio Colella, Vice President of Fedecomlegno, a federation of wood producers in Italy, Johann Georg Dengg, Chair of the UNECE Timber Committee, and Richard Vlosky UNECE/FAO Team of Specialists in the Forest Products Market and Marketing. The workshop focused on four topics: the Evolution of Green Building; Opportunities and Constraints of Wood in Green Building; Tackling Climate Change – wood as the preferred building material; and Potential Impacts of Green Building on the Forest Products Sector.

TOPIC 1: The Evolution of Green Building
On this topic, presenters provided an overview of green building, its opportunities and constraints, as well as the residential and non-residential demands for green building materials around the world.


Beatrice Spirandelli, National Association of Bioecological Architecture, Italy.
Paola Deda, UNECE, Housing and Land Management.

Ivan Eastin, CINTRAFOR, University of Washington.
Alois Geisslhofer, Ecoplus, Austria.

TOPIC 2: Opportunities and Constraints for wood in Green  Building
On the opportunities and constraints for wood use in green building, keynote speakers highlighted the need to develop a brand identity for wood used in construction. They also emphasized architects’ concerns as they are interested in ensuring sustainability, yet carry the liability for the long-term performance of a building.
François Robichaud, FPInnovations, Canada
Andrew Waugh, Waugh Thistleton Architects Ltd.
Adrian Joyce, Architects'̕ Council of Europe

TOPIC 3: Tackling climate change - Wood as the preferred building material

With regard to the use of wood as a preferred building material to tackle climate change, speakers emphasized the need to place wood at the center of the next Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, including harvested wood as a carbon sink, and the need for agreement on accounting methods for emissions.

André D’Arcy, Ministry of Natural Resources, Province of Quebec, Canada.   Filip De Jaeger, CEI-BOIS, Europe.   Ruth Nussbaum, ProForest, UK.   Sebastian Hetsch, UNECE.

TOPIC 4: Potential impacts of Green Building on the forest product sector

Regarding the potential impacts of green building on the forest products sector, presenters highlighted case studies of rapid house construction using local wood, the competitiveness of wood products, NGO concerns on the need to ensure building methods are sustainable, and the need for adequate education, training and skills development to support wider sustainable use of wood in construction.


Above photo L-R: Alison Rowles-Anobile, IUCN; David Jenkins, Ty Unnos (A house in a night); and Jeremy Wall, European Commission.

Closing Remarks:

Carl-Éric Guertin, Quebec Wood Export Bureau, summarized the outcomes of the workshop. Closing the workshop, Ed Pepke, UNECE/FAO, explained that the workshop theme would be considered during the market discussions of the joint meeting of the Sixty-sixth session of the UNECE Timber Committee and the Thirty-fourth session of the FAO European Forestry Commission taking place from 21-24 October 2008, also in Rome.

Carl-Éric Guertin, Quebec Wood Export Bureau.
Ed Pepke, UNECE/FAO.

  Above photos: Participants from the session.


UNECE team at the workshop L-R: Gianluca Sambucini, Kit Prins, Paola Deda, Ed Pepke, Roman Michalak, Virginia Cram-Martos, Franziska Hirsch, Sebastian Hetsch, Eve Charles and Florian Steierer

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Related Links

European Forest Week official page
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)
Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe (MCPFE)
Gateway to the European Union

Links to IISD RS Resources

IISD RS coverage of meetings on Forest, Desertification and Land Issues
Forests-L - Forests Policy Issues and Announcement Listserve
Linkages Update - Bi-weekly international environment and sustainable development news
MEA Bulletin - Newsletter on key MEAs and their secretariats
- News and information on the actions of international organizations in responding to the problem of global climate change
African Regional Coverage
- News, information and analysis on international environment and sustainable development negotiations and policy making in Africa


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