Experts to discuss challenges facing forestry sector


KUCHING: Control Union (CU), a global leader in forest certification, will be hosting a webinar on ‘Future-Proofing Sarawak Forestry through Sustainability’ on Feb 15.

This event aims to bring together all relevant forestry stakeholders to review and analyse key challenges facing the sector and ways to address them.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, who is also Second Minister of Natural Resources and Urban Development and Minister of International Trade and Investment, will officiate at the event and deliver his keynote address.

The webinar is hosted in collaboration with Forest Department Sarawak (FDS), Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Malaysia, Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), and Malaysia HR Forum.

It will facilitate the exchange of views and experiences on all aspects of forests and forestry-based certifications, which may lead to the formulation of broad recommendations applicable at national and regional levels.

The event also provides an opportunity to produce an overview of the sector, to discern trends, adapt policies, create awareness in decision-makers, and influence public opinion.

Given the high number of participants expected, it intends to be a valuable forum for strengthening the role of forests in general as well as in the context of critical environmental, economic, and social issues, also taking into account the developments in the global sustainable development agenda in Future-Proofing Sarawak Forestry Industry.

The webinar will include half a day of online sessions, including keynote and plenary addresses, as well as a panel discussion.

Plenary addresses will feature both research-based talks featuring prominent scientists, and more pragmatic, real-world presentations featuring prominent practitioners or policymakers from industry, government, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

For a long time, the forest and forest industry sector has been an important foreign-exchange earner for Sarawak.

However, the forest areas have declined at an alarming rate.

According to Global Forest Watch (GFW), from 2001 to 2020, Malaysia lost 8.39Mha of tree cover, equivalent to a 29 per cent decrease in tree cover since 2000, and 4.82Gt of CO₂e emissions. During this period, Sarawak had accounted for the most tree cover loss at 3.04Mha.

With this, policymakers have identified the need to shift towards environmentally sustainable economic growth.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg in a recent event highlighted the need to balance the demand of the environment and the demand for the economy to move forward.

He said, “Our land-use policy as well as our forestation, including replanting of forest and also the idea of carbon trading, will be included in our future economic strategies.”

Therefore, it is essential that all stakeholders are harmonised on the way forward for Sarawak’s forest industry.

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