The Seventh Mediterranean Forest Week and Silva Mediterranea Committee focused on regional cooperation, young people and forest and landscape restoration.
28 March 2022, Antalya, Turkey - Forest and landscape restoration and employment opportunities that Mediterranean forests can offer young people topped the agenda at the Seventh Mediterranean Forest Week and 24th session of the Committee on Mediterranean Forestry Questions-Silva Mediterranea, which took place in Turkey last week.
Held under the theme “Forest and ecosystem restoration for the next Mediterranean generations” and attended by representatives from 15 countries from both rims of the Mediterranean and the Secretariat of the Union of the Mediterranean, the discussions highlighted the potential for green jobs creation in the Mediterranean region, where the proportion of young people who are not in education, employment or training ranges between 7 and 33 percent.
“The restoration of degraded forests and ecosystems in the Mediterranean holds huge potential to offer opportunities for green jobs and entrepreneurship to young professionals, helping to tackle the region’s high unemployment rates as well as climate change,” said Tiina Vähänen, Deputy Director, FAO Forestry Division.
Participants at the Week approved the Antalya Declaration, which calls for countries and other stakeholders to scale up restoration efforts and reinforce regional cooperation to address common environmental and climate challenges.
“The Antalya Declaration underlines that restoration can create employment and reconnect Mediterranean people to their landscapes,” said Christophe Besacier, FAO Forestry Officer and Coordinator of the Forest and Landscape Restoration Mechanism. “It also highlights the importance of youth empowerment and engagement in building climate resilience in the Mediterranean region.”
Young people living in the Mediterranean region were invited to take part in a Youth Dialogue session giving them the opportunity to express their point of view on Mediterranean forestry challenges and to exchange solutions and recommendations. A resulting statement was presented at the Week’s high-level segment and will feed into the Youth Declaration of the XV World Forestry Congress in Seoul, Republic of Korea, on 2-6 May 2022.
Participants also assessed progress on the Agadir Commitment, which focuses on forest and landscape restoration efforts and cooperation in the region, and endorsed the submission of the Mediterranean region, represented by four countries – Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey – as a World Restoration Flagship in the context of the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration. This showcases the region’s significant advancements in restoration and its potential to inspire other countries outside the Mediterranean.
Other topics tackled during the Week included the social and cultural dimension of Mediterranean forests, the contribution of wild forest products to sustainable food systems, and environmental opportunities presented by the European Union (EU) Green Deal, Ecological Transition and new EU Forest Strategy.
The Week also hosted thematic sessions and side events organised by partner organisations that highlighted best practices and lessons learned, as well as a poster session dedicated to young professionals, researchers and students carrying out forestry activities in the Mediterranean region.
About Mediterranean Forest Week
The Mediterranean Forest Week takes place every two years and acts as a common regional platform for cooperation on Mediterranean forests. It aims to improve dialogue between the Mediterranean forest research community, policy-makers and relevant stakeholders as well as to communicate to the international community and society at large the relevance and challenges affecting Mediterranean forests.