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State Secretary for Forestry Marjan Podgoršek begins two-day visit to China today

Ljubljana, 26 July 2017 – The State Secretary for Forestry at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food, Marjan Podgoršek, is on a two-day working visit to the People’s Republic of China. The four-member delegation includes representatives of the ministry, Damjan Oražem, director of the Slovenian Forest Service, and Primož Simončič, director of the Slovenian Forestry Institute.

The visit being paid by State Secretary Podgoršek is of a technical nature. Intensive talks were held with representatives of the State Forestry Administration of the People's Republic of China focusing on bilateral cooperation in forestry; the Slovenian-Chinese Standing Forestry Working Group also had its first meeting. Talks will also be held on joint cooperation within the Coordination Mechanism for Cooperation in Forestry between China and CEE Countries (the 16+1 Coordination Mechanism), in which Slovenia assumed the central role of a coordinator for carrying out activities. The talks also focused on preparations for the international conference of the People's Republic of China and CEE countries on cooperation research and education in forestry, which is scheduled to take place at the end of October this year in Beijing. The conference will be held by China's Academy of Forestry.


As part of the first day of his working visit to China, State Secretary for Forestry Podgoršek met with Peng Youdong, Vice Administrator of State Forestry Administration of China. In their talks, they stressed that both countries have excellent relations in forestry. There is constructive cooperation at both the bilateral and multilateral levels, recalling the impressive ASEM workshop held in 2015 on sustainable forest management and an important coordination role played by Slovenia within the 16+1 Coordination Mechanism in Forestry. In this regard, they agreed that such coordination provides an opportunity for joint scientific and research cooperation and the development of opportunities for better cooperation in practice, makes possible integration at an efficient scale within the working groups and enables cooperation in expert knowledge for the transfer of technologies and knowledge from Central and Eastern Europe to China and vice versa.


State Secretary Podgoršek and his Chinese partner Peng Youdong discussed the October International Conference of the People's Republic of China and CEE countries on cooperation in research and education in forestry. The international conference is intended for researchers from the countries participating in the 16+1 platform, who will discuss five major issues in scientific and research cooperation and education within the 16+1 Coordination Mechanism. The areas include new challenges in forestry, forest protection and conservation in adapting to climate change, monitoring and assessment, the role of forests in a bio-economy (bio-economies, forestry agriculture / plantations of trees) and education. Slovenia will take an active part in the substantive and operational preparations for the conference.


The Slovenian-Chinese Standing Forestry Working Group met for the first time during the state secretary's working visit. The legal basis for this type of cooperation of working groups is the Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food of the Republic of Slovenia and the State Forestry Administration of People's Republic of China on Cooperation in Forestry, signed in Ljubljana at the end of May.


Both sides pointed to their good bilateral relations in forestry. These are reflected in the frequency of visits and also in the numerous activities being pursued in various fields and at different levels since 2014. 


The Slovenian-Chinese working group mainly discussed forestry policy, timber processing and marketing, and the trade in wood and wood products, as well as scientific, technological and educational activities in forestry; they also touched on cooperation in forestry within the 16+1 Coordination Mechanism. 


State Secretary Podgoršek and his delegation visited Badaling National Forest Park; the park measures 4.4 hectares, of which 96% is covered by forest. Its highest peak is 1,238 meters above sea level, and it has 539 plant species and 158 animal species.