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Renewable wood-based products can help combat climate change: FAO



Renewable wood-based products can help combat climate change and achieve Sustainable Development Goals, according to a new report by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

Engineered wood products and wood-based textile fibres are two emerging forest product categories that can provide renewable and sustainable solutions to the global crisis.

The production and consumption of engineered wood products are rising, mainly due to increased application in wood-frame multi-storey construction. Lyocell fibres are modern wood-based textile fibres that have properties like viscose and polyester but are more environmentally friendly in production.

Bioeconomy has emerged as a concept for tackling challenges such as the over consumption of an overreliance on non-renewable natural resources. Forests and the forest sector are important components of a bioeconomy.

The report Forest Products in the global bioeconomy: Enabling substitution by wood-based products and contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals brings together the most recent knowledge on the role of forest products in the global bioeconomy.

It examined forestry’s role in providing green solutions that can drive the global shift to a Net Zero future. This can be achieved by promoting wood as a bio-based material that can substitute fossil sources to produce energy, food, feed, fibre and other manufactured goods, according to the organisation.

In a statement at the World Bioeconomy Forum in Belem (Brazil), FAO’s Advisory Committee on Sustainable Forest-based Industries said:

Forest-based industries make an essential contribution to Net Zero emission targets, to which many businesses have committed in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change.

China, New Zealand, Turkey, the United States of America and the European Union have a dedicated bioeconomy strategy or action plan, FAO said. The highest-level bioeconomy strategy is the National Bioeconomy Blueprint.

The federal bioeconomy strategic objectives included a strengthening of research and development, fast-forwarding innovations from laboratory to market roll-out, reducing regulatory barriers, development of a bioeconomy workforce and the fostering of partnerships.

But other countries like Ethiopia, Ghana, Australia and the Russian Federation do not have a dedicated bioeconomy strategy, the report showed.

The focus of these strategies and action plans varies significantly. Many of them relate to innovation and biotechnology to develop new value-added products or improve the productivity of biological resources and bioenergy.

Developing awareness as well as addressing knowledge and implementation gaps in the global forest product value chain is crucial in ensuring the sustainability of a circular forest-based bioeconomy, the authors noted.

The report included specific recommendations for governments, industry and international cooperation bodies on how to increase their contribution to sustainable development.


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President orders probe into notification issued by Department of Immigration and Emigration




It has been reported that President Wickremesinghe ordered an investigation into the notification issued by the Department of Immigration and Emigration requesting all  Russian and Ukrainian tourists to leave the country within 14 days.

According to the President’s Media Division (PMD), the relevant notification was issued without prior approval from the Cabinet of Ministers.

The decision had reportedly been taken as certain foreign tourists are running illegal businesses in the country.

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Contentious Chinese research vessel docks in Maldives



Xiang Yang Hong 03 has previously visited Indian Ocean on several other occasions

A contentious Chinese research ship reached the Maldives on Thursday in the latest sign of the archipelago’s diplomatic reorientation towards Beijing and away from its traditional benefactor India.

Local residents said they had spotted China’s Xiang Yang Hong 3 at the Thilafushi industrial port near the capital Male.The 100-metre-long (328-foot) vessel was at an anchorage near Male on Thursday evening, according to the website Marinetraffic.

The Maldives’ pro-Beijing government said earlier the vessel was docking for a port call to rotate crew and take on supplies, on the condition that it would not conduct “research” while in its territorial waters.

Media reports in India had suggested that the vessel was conducting surveillance for Beijing.

India is suspicious of China’s increasing presence in the Indian Ocean and its influence in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, which are strategically placed halfway along key east-west international shipping routes.Relations between Male and New Delhi have chilled since pro-China President Mohamed Muizzu won elections last year.

Muizzu has asked India to withdraw 89 security personnel based in the Maldives to operate reconnaissance aircraft by March 15.But the president has also insisted he does not want to upend ties with New Delhi by replacing Indian troops with Chinese forces.

Sri Lanka refused entry to Xiang Yang Hong 3 after two other port calls from Chinese vessels since 2022 raised objections from India.That included the ship Yuan Wang 5, which specializes in spacecraft tracking and which New Delhi described as a spy ship. (AFP)

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MP Harsha in Australia as “Special visitor”



Harsha de Silva

Opposition MP and Chairman of the Committee on Public Finance (COPF) Harsha de Silva is currently in Australia as a special visitor.

Taking to ‘X’, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP said he had embarked on a nine-day visit on an invitation extended by the Government of Australia.

“My engagements with policymakers, academics, scientists and investment managers began in Melbourne and will continue in Adelaide and then public officials and politicians in Canberra,” he added.

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