World Resources Institute will host a number of side events at the World Forestry Congress in Durban, South Africa. The events will provide forums to discuss WRI’s efforts in forest monitoring (Global Forest Watch), restoration of deforested and degraded land (Global Restoration Initiative) and promoting legality of forest products (Forest Legality Alliance).

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Event Summaries

Additional details about side events can be found on the World Forestry Congress website.

Training Workshop on Science-Policy Interactions "Making Science Work for Forest and Landscape Restoration"
September 4-6, 8:30-14:00 | Hotel City Lodge
A 3-day training workshop on ways and means of transforming scientific knowledge into useful information for policy and management decisions on the ground. The workshop is organized by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) Special Programme for Development of Capacities (SPDC) in collaboration with the World Resources Institute.
WRI SPEAKER: Lars Laestadius, Senior Associate, Global Restoration Initiative

Genes, Drones and Satellites: The promise of new technologies for improving transparency and accountability in wood supply chains
September 7th, 12:45-14:15 | Hall 1A, Durban ICC, Durban
Recently, technologies for monitoring forests, crowd sourcing information, and tracking timber through supply chains have developed rapidly. Aiming to increase transparency and reduce the burden of complying with demand-side policies, the Forest Legality Alliance and partners are evaluating these technologies for feasibility and accelerating the development of promising solutions. Our event will bring together technology developers and high-profile government users to feature a display of these technologies, a moderated discussion to focus on the challenges and benefits of these technologies, and an opportunity for interactive discussion with the audience.
WRI SPEAKER: Chip Barber, Director, Forest Legality Alliance

OPENING PLENARY - Forest and people: investing in a sustainable future
September 7th, 14:45-16:15 | Hall 4/5/6, Durban ICC, Durban
This session will focus on:

  • the role of public and private investments;
  • what drives investments in forests and how to minimize risks for investors;
  • sustainable land use investments;
  • partnerships; and
  • investments in forestry for poverty eradication.

WRI SPEAKER: Göran Persson, Member, WRI Board of Directors; Chairman, Sveaskog; Former Prime Minister Of Sweden, Sweden


SUB-THEME: Encouraging product innovation and sustainable trade
DIALOGUE 1: Growing better trees for the needs of humankind

September 7th, 16:15-18:15 | Hall 2FH, Durban ICC, Durban
The session seeks to explore views from different interest groups on why and how science can responsibly use biotechnology for the sustainable intensification of forestry. The session will also seek to provide a greater understanding of innovative methods of participatory forest monitoring, crowd-sourcing and information-sharing of enhanced forest data. Intended outcomes: key messages on the responsible use of forest biotechnology, and principles and techniques on sharing and utilizing open-source information on forests and trees.

  • Lars Laestadius, Senior Associate, Global Restoration Initiative, World Resources Institute
  • Göran Persson, Chairman, Sveaskog; Former Prime Minister Of Sweden, Sweden; Member, WRI Board of Directors

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Legality Ball (Invitation Only)
September 7th, 20:00 | The Cargo Hold Restaurant, Durban
World Resources Institute's Legality Ball will be a one-of-a-kind event during the World Forestry Congress for representatives from multi-national institutions, governments, and major civil society organizations to advance dialogue on timber legality issues against the superb views of the ocean.

Beyond the legality dialogue - Experience defining and verifying legality to Combat Illegal Logging and Strengthen Forest Governance
September 8th, 12:45-14:15 | Hall 1A, Durban ICC, Durban
The session will begin with an overview on progress made towards ensuring and sustaining "timber legality" through different approaches, over the last decade, followed by responses from high-level government representatives from countries that have taken wide-ranging measures to respond to the illegal logging threat. The session will then conclude with a moderated discussion on the role of capacity building and novel approaches, such as south-south learning exchanges between government employees, company representatives, and industry associations from.

Big Data, Deep Insights: Global Forest Watch Presents Five Stories to Watch
September 8th, 18:15-19:30 | Hall 2FH, Durban ICC, Durban
Global Forest Watch will introduce new data and research, uniting tree cover loss data derived from satellite imagery and the latest statistics from FAO’s Forest Resources Assessment 2015, to reveal five critical trends shaping the future of forest landscapes:

  1. trends in deforestation and land use change in the Tropics,
  2. trends in deforestation and land use change in the Mekong,
  3. trends in deforestation and land use change in the Congo Basin,
  4. trends in the palm oil sector, which counts among the most significant drivers of deforestation globally, and
  5. the economic implications of securing and protecting community forest rights.

A panel of experts including representatives from government, private sector, and civil society will lead a discussion about the implications of these trends for forest management and conservation.
WRI SPEAKER: Crystal Davis, Director, Global Forest Watch

From Rome to Durban: A Promise on Monitoring and Assessment of Drylands for Sustainable Management and Restoration
September 8th, 18:15-19:30 | Hall 2C, Durban ICC, Durban
During the Dry lands Monitoring Week in January 2015 hosted by FAO in Rome, participants, reviewed a wide range of methods and tools for monitoring and assessment of different aspects of dry lands, as well as emerging new technologies. The week resulted in a statement titled "Rome Promise on Monitoring and Assessment of Dry lands for Sustainable Management and Restoration." The event will be provide conveners, participating organizations and experts an opportunity to communicate workshop outcomes - including the Rome Promise - to other relevant organizations and stakeholders from World Dry lands Regions and invite them to participate in this collaborative network.
WRI SPEAKER: Lars Laestadius, Senior Associate, Global Restoration Initiative

Understanding 'Deforestation-Free': Ways Forward to End Deforestation
September 8th, 18:15-19:30 | Meeting Room 3BC, Durban ICC, Durban
The past few years have seen a flurry of commitments made by companies and governments to eradicate deforestation from supply chains, investments, and jurisdictions. This approach to forest conservation raises critical questions concerning issues such as the meaning of "forest," the relationships between corporate and governmental commitments, implications for marginalized populations, and means of monitoring and verifying claims. The Forests Dialogue (TFD) is in the midst of a series of dialogues in which it is convening stakeholders from across the forest sector to address these issues and generate ways forward for deforestation-free policies. TFD's event will provide a multi-stakeholder panel of experts who have participated in these dialogues, and a facilitator who will pose key questions that have emerged from the dialogues
WRI SPEAKER: Chip Barber, Director, Forest Legality Alliance

Forest Landscape Restoration: Vision, Progress and Challenges in Eastern and Southern Africa
September 8th, 19:45-21:00 | Hall 4D, Durban ICC, Durban
This event is part of two interlinked events describing the vision and progress regarding Forest Landscape Restoration in Eastern and Southern Africa and Mesoamerica. The format will include short visual presentations which key points will be dramatized through vignette performances by Resource Africa’s theatre group.

Sub-Theme: Encouraging product innovation and sustainable trade
Session 3: Sustainable trade: new developments from Buenos Aires to Durban and beyond

September 9th, 10:45-12:45 | Hall 2FH, Durban ICC, Durban
This session begins by evaluating the trade sessions in the XIII World Forestry Congress to better understand the pace of change in trade, forest certification and voluntary and regulatory measures towards responsible and sustainable trade. It will then look at the application and effectiveness of new and highly sophisticated timber tracking technologies.
WRI SPEAKER: Tina Schneider, Associate, Forest Legality Alliance

Sub-Theme: Improving governance by building capacity
Session 3: Connecting local and global governance - building capacity to implement the post-2015 development agenda

September 9th, 10:45-12:45 | Hall 1A, Durban ICC, Durban
The purpose of this session is to share experience in addressing forest-related issues through international commitments and initiatives such as National Forest Programs, FLEGT and REDD+. Speakers in the session will dialogue on how to more effectively support changes at the national level and what governance measure could support successful implementation. During this session we will reflect on major lessons to more effectively involve local communities and the private sector in changing to more sustainable practices, and the implications on national governance arrangements.
WRI SPEAKER: Chip Barber, Director, Forest Legality Alliance

Governance and Institutional Set-up for Implementing Forest and Landscape Restoration
September 9th, 12:45-14:15 | Meeting Room 11CDE, Durban ICC, Durban
Forest and Landscape Restoration (FLR) is a broad thematic area of work that is increasingly being considered in international and national strategies to address some of the major challenges of our time: food, water, and energy security, climate change, poverty alleviation, combating desertification and biodiversity conservation. The objective of FLR is to restore degraded landscapes to healthy and productive multi-purpose landscapes that promote human well-being and sustain environmental goods and services. The purpose of this side event is to seek ways to improve country capacities to implement large-scale, multi-purpose restoration initiatives through collaborative efforts.

Scaling Up Success: Regreening Degraded Lands in Six Practical Steps
September 9th, 18:15-19:30 | Hall 2FH, Durban ICC, Durban
Re-greening degraded lands is an immense opportunity to increase farm household income, increase food security and crop yields, and improve firewood and livestock fodder production. However, information on how to spread this success has been lacking. A panel of experts will discuss opportunities and how to overcome challenges to scale up re-greening successes.

  • Robert Winterbottom, Senior Fellow, WRI
  • Tony Rinaudo, Natural Resources Advisor, WVA
  • Wanjira Mathai, Chair of the Board, GBM
  • Representative from African Union or NEPAD (TBD)

Better information for better forest governance – the role and potential of forest governance assessment and monitoring
September 9th, 19:45-21:00 | Hall 5/6, Durban ICC, Durban
The first part of the session will highlight the relevance of assessing and monitoring forest governance in the context of addressing key issues of managing forests sustainably, including deforestation, degradation, biodiversity loss, contribution to food and energy security and broader well-being of people. The second part of the session will be looking forward to identify the constraints and bottlenecks to widespread adoption of forest governance assessment and monitoring by countries.
WRI SPEAKER: Chip Barber, Director, Forest Legality Alliance

Leveling the Playing Field for Legal Trade: Scaling up what works, Perspectives from the Asia Pacific region
September 10th, 12:45-14:15 | Hall 2C, Durban ICC, Durban
The event will draw on a range of perspectives to address the questions: How can we scale up what works to level the playing field for legal trade? What are the most important investments to be made? We will explore the effects of both regulatory approaches (including timber trade legislation in major markets) and industry-led initiatives, and how these streams of work can and must intersect to go beyond modeling and demonstrations and bring about widespread, meaningful change for the people and forests of the Asia Pacific region.

The Restoration Generation: Can Africa bring 100 million hectares of degraded land into restoration by 2030?
September 10th, 12:45-14:15 | Hall 4C, Durban ICC, Durban
Africa has accumulated 450 million hectares of degraded land, more than any other continent. These lands have low yields, poor growth, and widespread poverty. The opportunity to bring these degraded lands back into productivity is immense, with positive effects for wealth, food security, biodiversity, and climate change. This side event will provide the opportunity for African leaders to share their ambitions and barriers to increasing the productivity of their land. The discussion will focus on how to strengthen the livelihood and economic cases for restoration by providing a framework to improve enabling conditions, mobilize finance and monitor regrowth.
WRI SPEAKER: Sean DeWitt, Director, Global Restoration Initiative

Plenary Session: The Way Forward – Forest Landscape Restoration Cluster
September 11, 9:00-12:00 | Hall 3B, Durban ICC, Durban
The roundtable will discuss ways to strengthen and expand partnerships to achieve sustainable impacts in forest and landscape restoration.
WRI SPEAKER: Lars Laestadius, Senior Associate, Global Restoration Initiative