Concept Note—The Third China-CEEC High-level Conference on Forestry Cooperation

The role of forests and the forest-based industry in bioeconomy

2 June 2021    online

  1. Background

Developing circular bioeconomy has emerged as an important tool to achieve sustainable development and address climate change and other global challenges. Despite no universal definition of bioeconomy so far, it is common understanding of the international community that bioeconomy is featured by sustainably using biological resources based on a wide range of modern technologies.

Many countries and economies have incorporated bioeconomy in their national strategies. The European Union is among the first to release its bioeconomy strategy in 2012 and then updated it to a new bioeconomy strategy in 2018. Quite a few of Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries have developed strategies or policies supporting bio-based industry, bioeconomy or green economy. Meanwhile, to facilitate regional coordination, the CEE countries have launched Bioeast, a knowledge-based initiative for agriculture, aquaculture and forestry in bioeconomy. With high priority given to ecological civilization, China has, in its recently released 14th 5-year Plan and the Long-range Objectives through 2035, put forward the requirement of green growth transition, and also provided guidance towards green low-carbon circular development recently.

Bioeconomy presents great opportunities for the forest sector. As the biggest land-based renewable resource, forests are essential to forest-based biomass energy, bio-based materials, pharmaceuticals, forest food and forest healing industry. Both China and CEE countries have rich forest resources. The 17 CEE countries have a total forest area of 50 million ha, with an average forest coverage of 34% and a per capita forest stock volume of almost 200 m3/ha. The forest area in China is 220 million ha, with 23.04% forest coverage. Both have made great efforts in promoting forest bioeconomy from policy to practice.

The Coordination Mechanism for Cooperation in Forestry between China and CEEC (17+1 forestry cooperation), launched in May 2016, aims to explore cooperation among members in forest policy, scientific research and education, as well as business and investment. It was agreed the High-Level Conference would be held once every two years and two High-Level Conferences have been convened so far.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Third China-CEEC High-Level Conference on Forestry Cooperation, originally scheduled to be held in China in 2020, was postponed. Based on the consensus of member countries, China will host the Third High-Level Conference virtually on 2 June 2021. This conference is a concrete action to implement 2021 Cooperation between China and CEEC Beijing List of Activities, agreed by the China-CEEC Summit held virtually on 9 February 2021.

  1. Theme, Time and Platform

Theme: the role of forests and forest-based industry in bioeconomy

Date: 2 June 2021

Platform:  the high-level conference will be held through zoom, and the link will be provided later

  1. Conference organization

Hosted by: National Forestry and Grassland Administration (NFGA) of the People’s Republic of China

Supported by: Chinese Academy of Forestry

  1. Conference participants

The conference is expected to invite around 150 participants, including:

  • Ministers responsible for forestry, high-level representatives and liaison officers from China and CEE countries;
  • Representatives from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (the 17+1 cooperation secretariat);
  • Representatives from local forestry authorities from China and CEE countries;
  • Experts, private sector and industry associations from China and the 17 CEE countries;
  • Representatives from EU and Austria as observers.
  1. Expected output of the conference
  • Release a joint statement on forest bioeconomy
  1. Languages: English will be the working language.
  2. Tentative agenda

CEST 09:00-12:00, 2 June; Beijing time 15:00-18:00



Session 1: Opening remarks

Ÿ   Mr. Guan Zhi’ou, Administrator of National Forestry and Grassland Administration of China

Ÿ   Dr. Jože Podgoršek, Minister of Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food of the Republic of Slovenia

Ÿ   Mr. Cui Zhimin, Counsellor, Department of European Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China

Ÿ   Virtual group photo of Heads of Delegation


Mr. Peng Youdong, Vice Administrator of National Forestry and Grassland Administration of China



Session 2: keynote speeches – setting the stage

Ÿ   Forest bioeconomy development and outlook globally and in Europe: Dr. Lauri Hetemäki, Assistant Director, European Forest Institute and Professor of Practice, University of Helsinki

Ÿ   Forest bioeconomy development in China and outlook for cooperation with CEE countries: Mr. Yang Chao, Chief Economist, National Forestry and Grassland Administration of China



Session 3: High-level roundtable

Ÿ   Interventions from Heads of Delegation: sharing views on the role of forests and forest-based industry in bioeconomy



Session 4: Adoption of the joint statement


Closing remarks


  1. Contact information and conference registration

The contact for the conference secretariat is as follows:

Chinese Academy of Forestry Ms. Wang Yanzun, International Cooperation Division


Tel: +86 10 8423 8921


National Forestry and Grassland Administration of P.R. China Ms. Chen Lin, Department of International Cooperation


Tel: +86 10 8423 8921

Fax: +86 10 8423 8973