China and Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries are willing to further deepen their cooperation in the area of forestry and work together on preventing negative effects of climate change, participants of the 2nd High Level Meeting of the Coordination Mechanism for Cooperation in Forestry between China and the CEEC agreed this week. Source: Xinhuanet Opening at the Palace of Serbia, representatives of China and 16 CEE countries gathered at the biennial event to access the progress achieved within the mechanism in the past two years since it was established, lay plans for the upcoming two years, and exchange views about climate change and forestry in 21st century. Liu Dongsheng, deputy head of China’s State Forestry and Grassland Administration, said at the press conference after the meeting that China and 16 CEE countries have common views on climate change, and need to cope together against its negative effects, especially through foresting. He continued that China, which has become a global leader in foresting over the past years, wishes to exchange experiences with CEE countries through the 16+1 cooperation mechanism. “The emission of CO2 should be decreased, while surface under forests should be increased, and this is an honorable task for which we also have the support of our people,” he said. He suggested establishment of forestry-related multilateral or bilateral platforms among the members of the 16+1 cooperation mechanism in order to boost cooperation among universities and academic bodies, and promote exchange in science and research. Liu mentioned forest tourism and medicinal forest tourism as some promising industrial branches that require joint cooperation to secure progress, and he concluded that China supports the establishment of “smart forests” across the world aiming to achieve better efficiency in managing forests as well as protection of animals and plants. Branislav Nedimovic, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management of Serbia revealed that the participants of the meeting adopted a joint declaration and a plan of the China-CEE cooperation from 2018 to 2020. “Our aim is both to boost international trade and to increase production.” Nedimovic explained that the two areas with highest growth potential in Serbia according to World Bank estimation are the food and wood industries with their respective processing. He said that a new online platform was launched Monday where all countries within the 16+1 forestry cooperation will form a database of their potentials in the area of forestry in order to engage companies and businessman. It also highlighted the importance of scientific research and academic exchange.