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Mayor addresses 45th IFSS hosted at NMMU Saasveld Campus

Jul 4, 2017
Mayor addresses 45th IFSS hosted at NMMU Saasveld Campus

George Executive Mayor, Alderman Melvin Naik, on Monday addressed the 45th International Forestry Students’ Symposium (IFSS 2017) which is hosted by the South African chapters of the International Forestry Students’ Associations (IFSA), spearheaded by Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU).

The symposium officially started on Monday, 3 July and will host 130 students from 56 countries to South Africa between 2 and 17 July.

Ald Naik said: “It is indeed a privilege to be a part of the International Forestry Student Symposium and I want to formally welcome you to the city of George and the Garden Route region- an area where God paused a little while when He was creating it.

“Despite the natural beauty that surrounds us, our city, region, country and globally are facing sobering realities and multiple challenges such as climate change, land degradation, rising carbon emissions, and rampant food- fuel prices. We have a growing global population of 7 billion people with finite resources, coupled with the natural desire of people living in developing countries to improve their standard of living, the increasing demand for energy and the limited supply of fossil fuels- all of which are adding to the pressure on the natural world. 

“There is an urgent need to redress the damage that is currently being done to the natural environment and the ecosystem services upon which we ultimately depend.  In a globalised world, environmental, economic and political challenges such as these increasingly affect everyone everywhere, regardless of their precise cause or origin.

From this it should be clear that we are all now dependent upon each other’s actions far more profoundly that in any time in human history,” Ald Naik said.

“It is clear that a critical paradigm shift is required to ensure a sustainable future not only for our country, but for the world. Large scale international co-operation is essential if all of these challenges are to be successfully addressed. We welcome your participation in our City and trust that you will leave having expanded your knowledge base and with a desire to return to assist us with the tremendous task that lies ahead of us.”

The NMMU Campus Principal, Professor Quinton Johnson expressed his deep admiration for the excellent Madibaz students who did amazing work in organizing the global symposium. He also indicated that the event presents the City and Eden District with a remarkable opportunity to introduce the Southern Cape as a premier destination for educational excellence and a tourism mecca for the world. 

The theme for the symposium is “Forestry in a diverse environment: Siyaphi? (Where to from here?)”  It aims to explore the rapidly changing nature of forestry, since socio-economic components are becoming as important as the traditional biophysical components. “Landscapes are transforming and humanity has become a key driver of global change. This is relevant to the youth because forestry can now be explored from a wide array of angles. In the South African context in particular, it is anticipated that this important forum will enable the youth to leverage social business models in forestry”, the local organising team explained.