How can sustainable forest management across Europe, with its social, economic and environmental impacts, help us address the challenges of the 21st century?
This question is framing a bilateral Finnish-Swedish project aimed at establishing a dialogue around forests and forestry with decision makers at the EU. No wonder that I thought that this would be an exciting assignment when it landed on my desk in 2018. The project builds on the Forest Academy concept that has been successfully running in Finland for over two decades. The assignment is also part of an action plan that will implement the Swedish National Forest Programme.
I am confident that these types of platforms, both nationally and internationally, are necessary as a tool to help us move towards sustainability in forestry and society as a whole.
The Forest Academy helps us to open new channels between EU institutions and those who are affected by their decisions. It promotes mutual understanding and increased engagement which is crucial for us to reach our intended goals. In my experience, we often share the same goals while we might have diverse ideas on how to reach them. I think that this stems for the fact that we bring different perspectives into the solutions. Allowing different aspects and views to surface is in fact crucial for a positive outcome of the process. A one-eyed deliberation is a risk we cannot afford.
We are now well underway in organising our second pilot of the Forest Academy for EU decision makers and we are using the experience gained from the first event which was held in 2018 in Finland. We are doing our best to prepare an exciting programme with inspiring speakers that are of high relevance for current policy issues nationally and in the EU.
I am looking forward to engaging with a wide range of actors who want to join us in this exciting project.