APEC adopts Taiwan forestry initiative

An initiative to strengthen educational resources for forest conservation proposed by ROC Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Bao-ji was included in the ministerial declaration concluding the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation 2nd Ministers Responsible for Forestry Meeting August 14-16 in Cusco, Peru, the COA said.

Chen shared Taiwan’s experience in forestry management with fellow ministers on August 15, which included mitigation of the effects of climate change; proper forest plantation management; maintenance of forest biodiversity; promotion of nature education and ecotourism; and encouragement of public participation in forest management.

Taking the Ali tribespeople of Wutai Township in southern Taiwan as an example, Chen explained how the government had partnered with the local indigenous population in rebuilding their homes, restoring habitats and planting traditional crops, which helped revive traditional tribal lifestyle values and create social, economic and environmental benefits for the communities.

To establish regional cooperative mechanisms for environmental education, Chen proposed that member economies strengthen environmental education to promote public awareness and participation in forest management as a basis to build cooperation in extending the breadth and depth of foresters’ knowledge and management approach.

The initiative received the support of other government bodies and was included in the ministerial declaration’s seventh section, which stated as its objective to “Enhance environmental education and improve access to forest-related information to support policymakers, communities, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector in their efforts to understand, manage, conserve, and monitor forests.”

During the conference Chen took part in bilateral discussions with his counterparts from Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Peru, Singapore, the U.S. and mainland China aiming to boost efforts on many fronts, including ecotourism, inter-ministerial cooperative mechanisms, forest certification, forest biomass energy resources, sustainable forestry, bamboo industry development and prevention of the illegal timber trade.

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