China-CEE meeting: Forests key to sustainable growth
The meeting brings together representatives of China and 16 countries of Central and Eastern Europe who will sign an action plan for cooperation in forestry.
Zhang pointed to forestry's increasingly important role for China's development as economy and society; forests were one of the biggest riches, considering climate change-induced spread of deserts.
Hence, Zhang believes that forests are vital for the survival of humanity, its culture and economy.
Židan described the action plan and previous documents in the field as a clear reflection of the efforts to establish a more transparent and targeted cooperation to stimulate trade and new investment.
"The action plan contains a broader vision and mission of cooperation in forestry and concrete goals we are going to follow in cooperation between the 16 countries of Central and Eastern Europe and China."
Židan too emphasised the vital importance of forests in the efforts to improve the living conditions, stimulate green growth, mitigate climate change and boost sustainable social and economic development.
Describing the situation in China, Zhang said the government was looking for methods of sustainable development to meet increasing demands for protection of woods while enabling their exploitation.
"I am happy that we are expanding cooperation in forestry. China currently has 21 percent of its territory covered in forests, and through new approaches we also have an increasing volume of wood biomass."
Despite its size, China is looking forward to cooperation in forestry as well as in transport, science and tourism. "Today's first high-profile meeting represents the beginning of joint cooperation and assistance in joint growth. Together, we can take cooperation to a higher level," said Zhang.
With the signing of the action plan, Slovenia will formally take the coordinating role; together with representatives of ministries in charge of forestry from China and CEE countries it will form a coordinating body responsible for the implementation of concrete tasks.
These will be aimed at sustainable forest management, boosting economic cooperation and exchanging scientific experience.
The coordinating body will be headed by Slovenia's representative, while the remaining members will be appointed by the other countries involved. They will draw up a two-year plan of activities.