Mediterranean Forest Week: Can forest-based solutions mitigate climate change?

April 1-5 2019, Lebanon.

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Photo: Sixth Mediterranean Forest Week

April 1-5 2019, Lebanon.

How can Mediterranean forests achieve Paris Agreement goals?

In 2015, 196 countries came together under COP 21 to set the world on a course towards more sustainable development, and to engage in a joint effort to reduce emissions, improve resilience, and foster adaptation in the face of climate change. The commitments of the Paris Agreement (Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs) and international cooperation to achieve them are increasingly central to global efforts to provide for the needs of citizens, while ensuring a sustainable future for all. In light of such urgency, can Mediterranean forests hold the key to helping countries meet their goals under the Paris Agreement?

The Sixth Mediterranean Forest Week

Held every two years, the Mediterranean Forest Week (MFW) is a key platform for regional forestry cooperation and dialogue between the research community, policy-makers and other relevant stakeholders. The Sixth MFW, to be held in Lebanon on 1-5 April 2019, will bring together a diverse range of participants to consider how Mediterranean forests can assist countries in the region to achieve their NDC targets for COP21. The weeklong event will engage forest administrators, the scientific community, private and public sectors, and civil society through dynamic sessions and side events that highlight both the challenges and key opportunities to harness forest-based solutions to mitigate climate change.

Forest-based solutions at MFW

Mediterranean forests provide goods and services of immense social, environmental, economic, and even cultural value. With a focus on forest-based solutions, MFW emphasises the importance of recognising and protecting these resources- and, importantly, on expanding their use as solutions to broader regional challenges. Sessions will highlight case studies of Mediterranean forest-based solutions for sustainable development, energy transition, demographic change, and migration.

In one such session, drawing on exciting progress made through the Innovation Networks of Cork, Resins and Edibles in the Mediterranean Basin (INCREDIBLE) project, experts from both the Northern and Southern Mediterranean regions will join in a round-table discussion to present inspiring examples of social entrepreneurship, participatory approaches and land restoration in Mediterranean forests around non-wood forest products.

Photo: INCREDIBLE

In a parallel session, the Social Innovation in Marginalised Rural Areas (SIMRA) Project will lead a workshop to explore the Mediterranean region as an incubator for social innovation that contributes to community and rural development in a sustainable and stable way.

Additional sessions on topics such as communication, climate financing, and links to other sectors (such as water and urban planning) promise to strengthen transdisciplinary strategies that can magnify the impact of Mediterranean forests.

These sessions, and all the events of the Sixth MFW, will bring together stakeholders from across the region and the sector to collaborate at a landscape-level, elevating the important role of Mediterranean forests in moving towards the commitments of the Paris Agreement. MFW is poised to unlock the potential of Mediterranean forests to improve climate change mitigation, adaptation, and resilience throughout the region– and beyond– by contributing to global efforts to address climate change.

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