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Making the voices of Global Civil Society heard

– and heeded! 

at the 14th World Forestry Congress (WFC2015)

in Durban, South Africa, 7-11 September 2015 


“Forests” and People: Investing in a “Sustainable” Future, or ‘Corporations and Plantations: Undermining Earth’s Integrity’?


Appeal for Funding Support or Event Sponsorship

We are aware that the envisaged project is large and ambitious, but under the circumstances we believe an appropriately strong response is needed.

WFC2015 will take place less than 10 months from now. However there should be sufficient time for South African civil society to prepare the ground for a successful and effective alternative event that will cater for activists and affected communities who cannot participate at the WFC conference.

No doubt some bigger NGOs will be able to finance their own participation ‘on the inside’ of the WFC, but we believe that it is essential to provide an alternative, more accessible and neutral venue on the ‘outside’ that will be able to cater for the needs of groups with fewer resources, whilst being open to the involvement of all stakeholders, including any official delegates to the WFC that might be interested to learn about civil society concerns.

The list of Proposed Activities and Objectives below includes some substantial items that would require more funding, whilst others will require relatively little. At this stage we are not aware of any potential funders for the larger items such as the rental of a suitable conference venue, or for providing transportation and accommodation for affected community members from those parts of the southern African region where deforestation and tree plantations are causing problems. However it is hoped that it will be possible to share major item costs by combining the contributions of funders.

It has not yet been possible to prepare a project budget as work still needs to be done to identify the most suitable and least expensive venues, as well as to establish the associated costs with some accuracy. Therefore we are first inviting expressions of interest from potential funders, who may wish to consider supporting a specific cost item or activity, or perhaps be willing to make a fixed contribution towards the general project costs that will be incurred, including such as administration, communication and local transport costs, etc.

Some Timberwatch members and supporters have already committed to helping with certain tasks, and we are confident that there will be many local volunteers who will offer to assist closer to the time. We also hope to obtain some sponsorship or contributions in kind from local organisations including from the local municipality as well as from our national government, but at this stage there is no way of knowing whether this potential support will be available or not.

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you require further information.

Wally Menne

Project Co-ordinator



 Proposed Objectives, Activities and Events

To organise an alternative civil society conference, to be staged at a central and easily accessible venue (or venues) in close proximity to the Durban International Conference Centre where WFC2015 will take place, and if possible to include the following activities and services:

1)    A comprehensive programme of presentations, workshops and other activities to cater for the interests and concerns of civil society groups and affected community members, also including preparatory and post-WFC meetings and workshops. 

2)    To establish a dedicated information and communication service centre in order to provide civil society participants with access to computer facilities for internet communications and media liaison, including press conferences. 

3)     To provide a sufficient number of adequately equipped meeting rooms for civil society organisation events including panel discussions and workshops. 

4)    To organise local tours for both WFC delegates and civil society participants to visit nearby sites where different types of forests may be seen, as well as to witness the social and ecological effects of large-scale monoculture tree plantations and the associated impacts of pulp and paper mills. 

5)    To support and to assist with arranging the logistical needs of out-of-town and other-country participants, such as local transport and accommodation. 

6)    To co-ordinate a public awareness event aimed at drawing attention to the social and environmental harm resulting from forest-logging, monoculture tree plantations, and the associated pollution from industrial wood processing activities, including production of chemical cellulose (dissolving wood-pulp), paper and packaging, and biomass-based fuels (wood pellets and ethanol).  

7)    To organise a public film festival where documentaries and video testimonies on the socio-economic and ecological impacts of forest loss caused by clear-cut logging, the establishment of monoculture tree plantations, and industrial processing of timber from both forests and plantations, can be screened. 

8)    To organise an open panel discussion/debate between representatives of civil society groups, conservation organisations, FAO/timber industry actors, and other delegations to the WFC, for broadcast on public TV. 

9)    To help provide specialised support in the form of volunteer interpreters and guides to assist participants representing affected Indigenous Peoples and local communities \with translation and other services in order to facilitate their fullest and most meaningful possible participation at the event. 

















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