Deforestation and illegal timber trade top WWF’s agenda at XIV World Forestry Congress

Posted on September, 02 2015

WWF is challenging participants to take bold actions to stop deforestation.
Durban, South Africa (2 September, 2015) – As global forestry leaders gather in South Africa for the World Forestry Congress, WWF is challenging participants to take bold actions to stop deforestation and join WWF’s “Forests for Life” campaign.
The Congress, to be held on 7-11 September, will open against the backdrop of the 2015 FAO Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA2015), which is updated every five years and will be released on the first day of the Congress.
The event comes at a critical time for the forestry sector – forest management, protection and restoration are vital elements of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which will be adopted later this month; and in November, over 190 countries will meet at the UN climate change talks in Paris to negotiate a new treaty to cut global emissions. Meanwhile, we continue to lose forests at an alarming rate.
“Unless we take concerted action now, we stand to lose up to 170 million hectares of forest between 2010 and 2030 in the world’s ‘deforestation fronts’, places that will account for over 80 per cent of global forest in these 20 years,” said Rod Taylor, Director, WWF Global Forest Programme. “That’s why we are dedicating our presence at the World Forestry Congress to challenge stakeholders – both in and outside Durban – to take part in our campaign and tell us what they are doing for forests and to address the catastrophic threat of deforestation and forest degradation.”
Representatives from governments, companies and major international organizations from across the world are joining WWF’s campaign to advance the debate on solutions to halt deforestation (a full list is below).
As part of the Congress, WWF is organizing several events: 
  • WWF will issue a statement on the 2015 FAO Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA2015), which will be released on the first day of the Congress. Media are invited to attend the WWF briefing about FRA2015 on Monday, 7 September, 11:30, at the WWF booth (D5-D10). 

  • Media are also invited to attend WWF’s kick-off reception for the “Forests for Life” campaign on Monday, 7 September, 2015, 18:30 at the WWF booth (D5-D10). 

  • WWF, TRAFFIC and Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) will host a side event and media briefing where national forest agencies of Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, Uganda and Mozambique will announce a major cross-border collaboration to halt illegal trade in timber, a key driver of deforestation and forest degradation in East Africa, one of the “deforestation fronts” identified in WWF’s analysis. Media are invited to attend the press briefing on Wednesday, 9 September, 2015, 14:30 at the WWF booth (D5-D10).  

  • WWF and partner organizations are also organizing events on the following topics: the economic and environmental impacts of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, “deforestation-free” initiatives, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) in the Congo Basin, community forestry in Gabon, landscape approaches to sustainable development, new generation plantations, valuing responsible forestry and climate smart forestry. 
A list of WWF spokespeople can be found below. For further information and to schedule interviews, contact Huma Khan, Communications Manager, WWF Global Forest Programme, 1 202 203 8432,
For updates on the campaign, press releases and WWF’s participation and events in XIV WFC, visit
What attendees are saying about the WWF campaign:
“The Peruvian Amazon is a land of superlatives. First worldwide in butterflies, second in birds, and fifth in mammals and reptiles. We don't want it also to be known as one of the world's 11 deforestation fronts. I'm excited to be at the World Forestry Congress to learn how we can work with WWF and others to protect our forests so they are not on the frontlines and to share what we are doing to fund our forests, address the impacts of climate change on forests and stop deforestation and forest degradation caused by illegal logging.”
Gustavo Suarez de Freitas, Executive Coordinator, National Forest Conservation Program for Climate Change Mitigation, Ministry of Environment, Peru
“The World Forestry Congress and WWF’s campaign present an important forum to show what solutions are needed at the landscape level to promote environmental stewardship. We believe in managing our plantations in harmony with the natural environment and respect for local people. That’s why we’re committed to protecting high conservation value areas that are vital for the preservation of forests and associated ecosystems; implementing a range of good practices that demonstrate the WWF New Generation Plantations (NGP) concept, working with partners and other stakeholders to develop and implement the concept of resilient landscape approach; and maintaining 100% certification of our forests and plantations, strengthening our own standards and encouraging certification across our suppliers.”
Peter Gardiner, Natural Resources Manager, Mondi
WWF experts available for interview
Fred Kumah, Director, WWF Africa
Yemi Katerere, Director, Change Management, WWF Africa
Rod Taylor, Director, WWF Global Forest Programme
Geofrey Mwanjela, Terrestrial Programme Coordinator, WWF Coastal East Africa Initiative
To schedule interviews, contact Huma Khan, 1 202 203 8432,
Schedule of WWF campaign participants
Media interested in interviewing any of the participants are advised to come to the WWF booth (D5-D10) at the time noted below.
Name Organization Function Scheduled time at WWF booth
Mikhail Tarasov IKEA Acting Global Forestry Manager Monday, 7 Sept.
11:00 – 11:30
Noemi Perez Finance Alliance for Sustainable Trade (FAST)
President & CEO Monday, 7 Sept.
12:00 – 12:30
Kim Carstensen Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
Director General Monday, 7 Sept.
12:30 – 13:00
Jose Luis Canchaya
Madreacre Commercial Director Tuesday, 8 Sept.
16:00 – 16:30
Peter Gardiner Mondi Natural Resources Manager
Wednesday, 9 Sept.
15:30 – 16:00
Gary Dunning The Forests Dialogue (TFD) Executive Director Thursday, 10 Sept.
14:30 – 15:00
Victor Kabengele Wa Kadilu
National REDD Coordination Committee, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
REDD+ National Coordinator Thursday, 10 Sept.
15:00 – 15:30
Gustavo Suarez de Freitas
National Forest Conservation Program for Climate Change Mitigation, Ministry of Environment, Peru
Executive Coordinator TBD
Jack Hurd Deputy Director, Asia-Pacific The Nature Conservancy TBD
At WFC 2015, WWF is challenging participants to take bold actions to stop deforestation and join WWF’s "Forests for Life" campaign.