The Institute of Foresters of Australia President, Dr Peter Volker, said that the forestry profession feels let down by the Australian Government not being represented at the World Forestry Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
“It is extremely embarrassing for Australian delegates at the Congress that there is no Australian Government representation” Dr Volker said.
The Australian Embassy in Buenos Aires was a conference sponsor but was conspicuous by its absence or further involvement in this world stage of forestry.
“Major resolutions from Congress will go to the much-publicised Copenhagen Climate Change meeting in December and the Australian Government has missed out on a great opportunity to include its views in those resolutions. Unfortunately, the Australian Government views could not be heard at the Congress and this will result in not taking Australia seriously in Copenhagen”.
Dr Volker said there were no Australian Government exhibition stands to demonstrate Australia and its forestry programs to the 5300 WFC delegates from around the world.
“An opportunity has been lost to promote Australian forestry science, conservation programs and wood products to the world.”
Dr Volker said that Australian foresters have made major contributions to the Congress. They feel let down that the Australian Government ignored the World Forestry Congress which is only held once every six years.
In addition, Australia may have missed an opportunity to host the next World Forestry Congress in 2015.
“The current Australian Government’s lack of demonstrable concern for Australian forestry is of concern to the 1300 members of the Institute of Foresters of Australia,” he said.
At the Congress Dr Volker hosted and chaired a meeting of forestry professional associations from several countries including the USA, UK and Germany. The associations agreed that foresters had been marginalized in the climate change and carbon debate and needed to claim back some ground with or without Government support.