Forest Communicators Network Aims to Broaden Reach with Simpler Messaging
Despite the importance of forests for both climate change mitigation and social and economic development, forest issues are still overlooked in national and international policy debates, according to the FCN. Thus, the meeting discussed how to reach a larger audience in the digital age, and looked outside the forestry sector to gather new ideas and learn about innovative methods for more effective out-reach. The meeting emphasized the need to link the issues with the audience, as well as other sectors beyond forests, by telling stories that people can understand, and by illustrating the impact that forest and forest products have on jobs, the economy and sustainable development.
During the meeting, participants shared best practices in forest communications, which included the ‘Show off your Forest' video and photo contest with more than 2,000 people either submitting their work or voting for their favorite photographs and videos. Sessions were also convened on, inter alia: global megatrends impacting the forest sector; regional FCNs, their consolidation and global interconnection; forthcoming international forest events; forests as part of the future sustainable development goals (SDGs); learning from experiences, including connecting kids with forests and foresters; and the forest sector in the context of a green economy.
FCN Chairperson and Leader Ingwald Gschwandtl said that only by recognizing that “we are all forest dependent” can the profile of forest issues be raised in local and international political agendas. She noted that “we need simpler and sharper messages to maximize our outreach.”
The meeting, which convened from 23-25 April 2014 in Berlin, Germany, was hosted by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the German Forest Society. The FCN meets annually to strengthen networking and promote interaction in forest-related communications, and includes: experts from intergovernmental organizations; universities and scientific and research organizations; and ministries responsible for forests in European countries. [FOREST EUROPE News] [UNECE News]