The King attends the launch of a Swedish-Finnish research venture

On Thursday 26 October, The King attended a seminar on Sweden and Finland working together on the future value of forestry at the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry in Stockholm. The seminar was a presentation of Tandem Forest Values, a Swedish-Finnish research venture within forest production and the development of the forest industry. The venture is a gift from Sweden to Finland to mark Finland's centenary as an independent nation.

Tandem Forest Values aims to strengthen and develop long-term bilateral research cooperation between players in Finland and Sweden within the field of forestry and the forest industry. The venture consists of 12 two-year research positions, with universities or research institutes in Finland and Sweden jointly formulating research applications and engaging suitable doctoral researchers for the projects.

The venture was presented during Thursday's seminar.

After a welcoming address from the academy's President Lisa Sennerby Forsse, The King opened the seminar and said:

"The theme for Finland's centenary is Together. We Swedes have borne this in mind, and our gift to Finland is a bilateral forest-related research venture: twelve two-year research positions with researchers spending a year in each country. This initiative is called Tandem Forest Values. The aim is for Sweden and Finland to focus in tandem, working together, on the value of forests. This gift is an expression of partnership, looking together towards the next 100 years.

"Forests are particularly close to my heart. I am delighted that Finland and Sweden will be working together in this area that is so important to us. It will be yet another expression of our nations' close solidarity, which I hope today's seminar will help to strengthen.

"Just as the Baltic Sea binds us together, so too are forests something we have in common. A mighty bridge that links our two nations. So let us use this bridge to come closer together. Let us join forces and work together for positive, sustainable development in both our countries."

During a panel discussion on how Sweden and Finland can combine sustainable forest management with new products and processes: Mårten Larsson from the Swedish Forest Industries Federation, the seminar's moderator Maria Wetterstrand, Marie Larsson-Stern from the Forestry Research Institute of Sweden, Christine Hagström-Näsi from CLIC Innovation, Daniel Söderberg from the Wallenberg Wood Science Center and Johanna Buchert from the Natural Resources Institute Finland. Photo: Erik Cronberg

The afternoon's speakers included Sweden's Minister for Rural Affairs Sven-Erik Bucht and Finland's Minister of Agriculture Jari Leppä, who spoke about the two countries' priorities in terms of forestry policy.

Chris Heister, Vice Chair of the Swedish-Finnish Cultural Foundation, and Tomas Lundmark, Chairman of the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry's Forestry section, spoke on the subject of Tandem Forest Values – a first step towards more comprehensive bilateral cooperation in connection with forestry and forest industry research.

Esko Aho, former Prime Minister of Finland and strategic advisor to the European Forest Institute, rounded off the seminar with his reflections on the challenges and opportunities for Sweden and Finland as forest nations in a globalised world.