Finland’s chairmanship of Barents Forest Sector culminated in Barents Forest Forum in Rovaniemi
News - Published 9.10.2023
The Barents Forest Forum, held on 4–5 October 2023, discussed sustainable forestry in the northern areas of Finland, Sweden and Norway. The Forum concluded Finland’s two-year chairmanship of the Forest Sector.
The Working Group on Barents Forest Sector (WGBFS) of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC) has been busy during Finland’s chairmanship in 2021–2023. Published in December 2021, the working group’s action plan aimed to activate forest sector operators in the Barents geographical cooperation area. In Finland, the area includes North Karelia, Kainuu, North Ostrobothnia and Lapland.
The chairmanship focused on climate-smart forestry, the importance of forestry in the regional economy, and the recreational and natural values of forests. The Barents Forest Forum in Rovaniemi brought these themes together to illustrate the whole spectrum of sustainable forestry. The event was attended by regional and national operators from the forest sector in Finland, Sweden and Norway. Cooperation with other Barents working groups, such as the Working Group on the Environment (WGE) and the Barents Regional Youth Council (BRYC), was also discussed.
The Forum was particularly topical for several reasons: the world’s largest softwood pulp plant was deployed in Kemi at the end of September 2023, while the EU continues to debate various initiatives to increase the protection forests. The ending of timber imports from Russia and the availability of energy wood to ensure security of supply are also important aspects for building an overall picture. Meanwhile, the Youth Hackathon brought to the fore the next generation’s opinions on forests.
The two-day event ended with visits to forests near Rovaniemi. During the excursions, the Forum delegates learned about the practical measures to coordinate different forms of land use in forestry, taking into account economic, social and ecological aspects. They also found out about nature management in commercial forests and the reconciliation of forestry with tourism and reindeer husbandry.
The Forum supported Finland’s two-year Presidency of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council, which ends in October. The Forum received funding from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ appropriation for the Baltic Sea, Barents and Arctic cooperation.
- Sanna Paanukoski, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, +358 295 16 2449, email@example.com
- Pasi Poikonen, Group Manager and Research Scientist, Natural Resources Institute Finland, +358 295 325 188, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Jyrki Haataja, Senior Regional Development Specialist, Finnish Forest Centre, +358 50 431 4971, email@example.com
Press release from Finland’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry 5.10.2023