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COA Minister Chen's Proposal to Set up Asia-Pacific Forest Diseases Prevention Network Adopted in Official Statement of 1st APEC Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Forestry


Attending APEC Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Forestry with Fruitful Results

Minister Wu-hsiung Chen of the Council of Agriculture (COA) attended the First APEC Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Forestry in Bejing at the head of the Taipei delegation. Minister Chen delivered a speech on Taiwan ’s experience of forest management during the 3-day meeting and made the proposal to establish the Asia-Pacific forest diseases prevention network, which was adopted in the ministerial statement published after the meeting. He also held bilateral meetings with several other APEC economies, getting fruitful results.

Minister Chen Addresses APEC Meeting on “Strengthening Practical Cooperation for Asia-Pacific Forests to Achieve Inclusive Growth”

Minister Chen delivered a speech in English entitled “Strengthening practical cooperation for Asia-Pacific forests to achieve inclusive growth” in the morning on September 7, sharing with delegates of other APEC economies the experience of Taiwan ’s forest management. His speech covered such issues as “promoting community forestry to jointly participate in forest operations and conservation,” “promoting eco-tourism and environmental education to contribute to community green growth,” “developing diversified uses of forestry products to promote forestry economic development,” and “utilizing recycled driftwood to develop industries and forestry culture.” He mentioned that in response to the APEC Leaders’ Sydney Declaration issued in 2007, Taiwan has promoted “green forestation” in 2008 to expand the work of forestation. As of 2011 Taiwan has increased 15,559 hectares of newly planted forest area and sets the goal of increasing the area to 60,000 hectares in 2016.

Regarding the policy to achieve inclusive forest growth, Minister Chen explained Taiwan ’s community forestry policy and said the government has invited aboriginal people to participate in nature conservation, resource survey, eco-tourism, forest protection, forest fire prevention and illegal logging prevention. He also cited a number of examples, including the Danongdafu Forest Park in Hualien integrating aboriginal culture; inviting international masters to use driftwood to create carvings for the establishment of an international park of wood carvings, continuing nature’s vitality; and developing diversified and refined bamboo and wood products. Minister Chen’s speech in combination with wonderful pictures was applauded by delegates of other APEC economies, and the South Korean minister of Forestry who presided over the APEC meeting even praised it as a highly impressive speech.

Taiwan ’s Proposal to Establish Asia-Pacific Forest Diseases Prevention Network Adopted in Ministerial Statement

During the meeting Minister Chen also proposed to “establish the Asia-Pacific forest diseases prevention and quarantine network to mutually exchange information on surveillance, early warning, and prevention and cure techniques regarding cross-border forest diseases, pests and alien invasive species to prevent forest degradation.” The proposal won the support of other APEC economies and the meeting decided to adopt it in the ministerial statement. He explained that forest diseases, pests and alien species often spread with trade so APEC economies need to jointly prevent the spread, and that Taiwan has accumulated a lot of experiences in response to the threat of various forest diseases, pests and invasive species after establishing the forest diseases and pests surveillance and prevention system in 1996, and setting up Diagnosis and Information Center of Forest Diseases and Pests in 2010 and Invasive Species Reporting Center in 2011. The adoption of Minister Chen’s proposal in the ministerial statement marks the beginning of the real work, and the COA will cooperate with other APEC economies more actively to promote the surveillance and prevention of forest diseases and pests as well as provide other economies with necessary technical assistance.

Minister Chen Holds Bilateral Talks with Several Counterparts

During the APEC ministerial meeting, Minister Chen held bilateral meetings with delegations of the United States, Japan, South Korea and mainland China, exchanging opinions on a wide range of issues including forest rehabilitation, plantation management, forest carbon sinks, and forest culture. When talking with Director Jia Zhibang of mainland China ’s State Forestry Administration, Minister Chen praised mainland China ’s achievement regarding forestation on deteriorated land after its rehabilitation, and said Taiwan would like to learn from the mainland’s experience. When the Taiwandelegation talked about such experiences as establishing Nature Centers and managing protected areas, Director Jia highly praised Taiwan ’s achievement in these fields and immediately instructed mainland Chinese forestry departments to learn from and communicate with their Taiwan counterparts. The two sides committed to continue cooperation and exchange on such issues as nature ecological protection, forest diseases and alien invasive species.

Planting Trees on Badaling together with Other APEC Ministers

Under the arrangement of the APEC meeting, Minister Chen, together with representatives of other APEC economies, went to the Badaling area in Beijing to plant trees on September 8. He planted a Chinese pine in response to the theme of green growth announced by the ministerial meeting. (2011-09-08 )