Key forestry experts from governments, the private sector and NGOs gathered on Wednesday for the opening of the Asia Pacific Rainforest Summit 2016 in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam. Regional leaders reinforced the importance of working in partnership between governments, private sector, forest scientists and communities towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) outlined in the Paris Agreement.
Opening the Summit Brunei’s Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Minister, Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali Bin Apong, was hopeful every effort was being made to restore rainforests but stressed more can be done to battle deforestation and forest degradation.
“We are in the 21st Century, where technological developments are at our fingertips. We should promote efficient utilisation of forest resources through appropriate technologies and at the same time, encourage the production of forest value-added products,” he said.
Brunei is also focusing on enhancing efficiency to boost yields, and encouraging investments in agriculture technology.
Australia’s Minister for Environment and Energy, Mr Josh Frydenberg, urged participants to use the global momentum from the Paris Agreement to drive the environmental agenda and action further.
Australia is sharing its knowledge and lessons learnt with countries in the region, partnering with US and Norway, through the Global Forest Observations Initiative, to extend this outreach.
“This initiative promotes a globally integrated approach to measuring emissions from deforestation using satellite-based data. This work is already making a tangible difference in supporting countries in our region to measure the emissions from their forest resources. If you can’t manage, you can’t measure.”
Dr Peter Holmgren, Director General of the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), called for an integrated approach to achieve the sustainable goals and to redefine “forestry” to include all aspects of sustainable development.
“We will not realise the full potential of forests and forestry in sustainable development unless we work across traditional institutional boundaries. The common denominator that brings us together is landscapes. Landscapes with a wide diversity in shapes and sizes will be a cornerstone for the future we want.”
This year’s summit is hosted by the Government of Brunei Darussalam, and supported by the Government of Australia, with CIFOR as the science and engagement advisor.