The two days of discussion in Montpellier were insightful and timely. Looking forward, similarly structured dialogue with clear objectives and outcomes focused on current and future wood energy challenges and opportunities is needed and can play an important role in reducing conflict between stakeholders in the sector. Upcoming discussions could choose to explore on two parallel and linked tracks: 1) traditional and commercial use and 2) industrial and utility use. Field visits and illustrative on-the-ground case studies that focus on the opportunities, challenges, and contested assumptions around the four key issue areas identified by this initial scoping dialogue have the potential to provide important and constructive perspective. Future dialogues might also be strengthened by involving experts on key topics (such as carbon accounting). It will be additionally important to involve and engage critically-minded stakeholders in any follow-up dialogue (including government officials in the traditional use context and activist NGOs and policy makers in the industrial use context).
Ultimately, this Scoping Dialogue on Sustainable Woody Biomass for Energy and more broadly TFD’s Initiative on Sustainable Wood Energy provides a unique window into some of the key issue areas, information gaps, and possible sustainable solutions. At a time when many countries aim at balancing a critical triangle of ensuring energy security, combatting energy poverty, and accelerating the use of renewable energy targets, the Montpellier dialogue sheds some light on the road ahead. This dialogue and the work of TFD and its partners suggests that despite stakeholder differences, there is an inclusive dialogue-based path forward for making meaningful progress towards a collective sustainable wood energy future as an integrated pillar of a global renewable energy future.
More comprehensive information on this dialogue can be found by accessing the Co-Chair’s Summary document
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