Forum: General discussion
I would like to congratulate the founders of People´s Forest Forum for making an important contribution to the future of our planet! Public participation in decision-making on our environment, near and far, are a key right. [:]This forum can teach our governments, including the Finnish one, to be a little more frank about the problems of the present forestry policies and practices. It can also invite the forestry companies as major global players to make a real contribution to their corporate social responsibility. On this forum we can exhange information about their activities both in the North and in the South, giving them an opportunity to learn from their mistakes.
The petition highlights a worrying trend by governments to forget one global task at the cost of the other. In opening the door to genetically engineered trees and exotic or alien species in forestry aiming at storing carbon dioxide as a part of the climate change efforts, they have shown how little their earlier commitments to biodiversity means. It is necessary to alert the concerned citizens, scientists and civil society groups worldwide.
I would like to see this forum take on board a crucially important socio-economic question related to forests. It is the necessity to protect virgin and old-growth forests as habitats in which the world´s numerous indigenous peoples exercise their traditional livelihoods. The Finnish Service Center for Development Cooperation (KEPA) has partners in Amazonia, namely the rubber tappers, and we know how much their presence in the rainforest is threatened. Here one has to raise awareness about the land use and ownership rights. This again is a deeply political question.
I will in the coming days head to Mumbai in order to participate in the World Social Forum. I am sure that forestry will be an eagerly debated issue there.