Forest Day: the face of forests at UN climate change negotiations

06 December 2011 | News story

Forest Day has become something of a tradition at the annual UN climate change conference, the UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP). Here at COP17 in Durban, Forest Day 5 was held on 4 December, bringing together over 1000 people who work on – and are passionate about – forestry issues, including more than 200 official climate change negotiators.

Forest Day is convened by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) on behalf of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), which unites 14 of the worlds most important organisations working on forest issues, and of which IUCN is a prominent member.

CIFOR’s Director General, Frances Seymour, explains more about Forest Day and its significance, on the sidelines of the Durban conference.

The objectives of Forest Day are multiple, including the opportunity for forestry researchers and practitioners to share and learn on the most recent developments in their field; but has it also been strategically important to the consideration of forestry issues in the official climate change negotiations at the last four COPs?

Although only half way through COP17, Seymour considers the potential impact Forest Day 5 May have on this year’s COP.

Despite announcing at Forest Day 5 that she will be steping down as Director General of CIFOR, she still plans to attend the next Forest Day, in 2012 at COP18 in Dubai. She explained what she hopes to see at Forest Day 6, when for the first time she will take part as a regular participant.