Reports from World Forestry Congress in Buenos Aires

Banner photo (Plantations Are Not Forests) from last Friday's march:  Petermann/GJEP-GFC

Banner photo (Plantations Are Not Forests) from last Friday’s march: Petermann/GJEP-GFC

This was written on Friday by Global Justice Ecology Project’s Anne Petermann in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  Everyday this week she will be posting an update from the World Forestry Congress on this blog.

16 October

March, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Movements converged today in the heart of Buenos Aires demanding “¡soberanía alimentaria!” (food sovereignty) and also sending a message to the forthcoming World Forestry Congress that “Las Plantaciones no son Bosques” (plantations are not forests).

The World Forestry Congress, being convened by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, is slated to begin here in Buenos Aires on Monday, October 19.  This congress occurs only once every five years and is being widely denounced by forest protection organizations for its domination by the timber industry.  The World Rainforest Movement has set up a page on its website devoted to arguments why the congress is a sham, and Global Forest Coalition, which has been on the Advisory Board of the Congress, is submitting its formal resignation.  Global Forest Coalition decided to take this step after its recommendations to increase participation of indigenous peoples and women in the congress, and to increase the focus of the congress on forest restoration rather than forest conversion to plantations, were ignored.

In a sharp critique, Ricardo Carrere, of the World Rainforest Movement writes of the congress, “the WFC will help to strengthen plantation companies by continuing to provide their tree plantations with ‘scientific’ credibility and that the ‘forest terminology’ will serve to maintain the current corporate-friendly definition that classifies them as ‘planted forests’.”

Global Justice Ecology Project will be attending the World Forestry Congress to monitor the plans of the timber industry globally with regard to both the use of forests in the carbon market (one of the main false solutions to climate change being negotiated in the upcoming Copenhagen climate talks), and the plans to commercially release genetically engineered trees.

Prior to the congress, over the next two days, I will be meeting with our allies from all over Latin America to plan strategies to oppose the commercial release of genetically engineered trees, and to counter the misinformation and propaganda around the use of forests as carbon offsets.

Stay tuned for more blog posts over the next week.

Anne Petermann
Executive Director
Global Justice Ecology Project
from Buenos Aires

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