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Canada: A World Leader at Global UN/FAO Event

The Canadian forest products industry is quickly becoming a world leader in innovation. Proof of this is the invitation Canada received to attend the 22nd meeting of the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) Committee on Forestry (COFO), where FPAC, NRCan and the CBFA were asked to come and share Canada's leadership on its transformation agenda and its world-class environmental partnerships. Canada encouraged other nations to follow suit, and received positive attention for its game-changing approach to advancing Canada's forest industry and global reputation. Glenn Mason, Assistant Deputy Minister of the Canadian Forest Service at Natural Resources Canada was invited to speak at the event. Read his story about the UN event below. -- David Lindsay, President and CEO, FPAC


 -- Glenn Mason, Assistant Deputy Minister, Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada

Earlier this summer, I had the privilege of leading a delegation from Natural Resources Canada to attend the 22nd meeting of the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) Committee on Forestry (COFO).

Held every two years at the FAO headquarters in Rome, COFO brings together the heads of forest agencies from around the world to share thoughts and ideas on emerging issues and provide direction on global, regional and national action.

This year's meeting was a special one from a Canadian perspective as we enjoyed a healthy level of positive attention on three fronts: the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (CBFA); Canada's collective efforts to advance forest sector innovation; and our successes in advancing sustainable forest management in Canada. The result of this attention was to underscore Canada's reputation as a responsible supplier of world-class forest products.

I had the pleasure of introducing a COFO side event on the CBFA by Aran O'Carroll (Executive Director, CBFA Secretariat), Mark Hubert (Vice President, Environmental Leadership, Forest Products Association of Canada) and Janet Sumner (Executive Director, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society Wildlands League).

The CBFA is truly an important achievement and clearly demonstrates that much can be accomplished through dialogue and cooperation. The CBFA — and, by extension, the discussion in Rome — highlighted Canada's successes and lessons learned in the creation of the Agreement, which has gone on to serve as a model for other nations and other industrial sectors. Once again, I would like to congratulate the CBFA signatories for their leadership, open-mindedness and willingness to cooperate.

Another highlight for Canada was the well-attended presentation in the COFO plenary by Catherine Cobden (Executive Vice President, FPAC) on our country's model for forest sector innovation, which showed the world how far we have come in the last decade in overcoming institutional and other barriers to industry transformation. COFO offered up this opportunity to showcase Canada's global leadership in developing a successful innovation system from generating ideas to commercialization as a way to inspire other nations to follow suit.

Many of the new higher-value Canadian forest products are the direct result of our innovation system and its three main components: developing private-public innovation partnerships; aligning stakeholders with the Government of Canada's innovation research agenda; and strengthening engagement with university-level research. As the result of these efforts, our forest sector is becoming an important player in other industrial sectors not traditionally associated with forestry, such as chemical, automotive, agriculture, and energy. And, Canadian workers and forest-dependent communities are directly benefitting from the innovation that is flowing from these productive partnerships in the form of jobs and investments in mills. We cannot afford to rest on our laurels however and must continue our commitment to innovation.

Canadians can be proud of our country's progress on sustainable forest management. My department, Natural Resources Canada, continues to undertake the groundbreaking scientific research in so many areas — biodiversity, invasive species, carbon management, fire management, phytosanitary standards, traceability and illegal logging, among others — that help advance Canada's continuously improving forest management practices and become one of the world's most responsible suppliers of forest products.

Indeed, sustainability is at the heart of why NRCan does what it does. Science is fundamental to Canada's competitive advantage, and increasingly, has become essential for continued market access. That is why our ongoing investments in science and in developing technical knowledge and practical expertise are so critical to our economic success.

Also at COFO, I had the opportunity to meet with colleagues from other boreal countries to continue our discussions on enhancing cooperation in the areas of science and science-policy integration, providing Canada an opportunity to showcase our expertise while also learning from others.

For all these reasons, the 22nd meeting of the FAO's Committee on Forestry was a success for Canada, and I look forward to updating FAO delegates on what the next round of Canada's achievements will be when the group meets again in 2016.

 Source: President's Blog / The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC)

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