Janez Potočnik becomes new ThinkForest president


Janez Potočnik, former EU Commissioner for both Science and Research, and Environment is the new president of EFI’s high-level discussion forum, ThinkForest.

The ThinkForest forum brings together policymakers, the scientific community and stakeholders, offering a space for science-policy dialogue which builds bridges on pan-European forest and bioeconomy issues. Since its foundation in 2012 until June 2019, it has been chaired by former Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson.

Lauri Hetemäki, Janez Potočnik and Marc Palahí

Mr Potočnik is currently Co-Chair of the International Resource Panel hosted by UNEP, Chair of the Forum for the Future of Agriculture and RISE Foundation and a Member of the European Policy Centre's Advisory Council. He is one of the key figures and originators of the circular economy concept, and has provided strategic guidance to EFI in recent years on bioeconomy issues. He helped to “godfather” the 2017 From Science to Policy publication Leading the way to a European circular bioeconomy strategy, and has been a keynote speaker at several ThinkForest seminars.

“Forests, sustainable forestry and forest-based products offer the greatest potential in connecting the circular economy and the bioeconomy”, said Mr Potocnik. “I see EFI as the key organization to place forest science at the heart of the circular bioeconomy”. 

EFI Director Marc Palahí said: “Janez is the right President for ThinkForest because one of the most important tasks ahead is to connect the circular economy and the bioeconomy in order to ensure they mutually reinforce each other and have together enough scale to replace our current linear fossil economy.  Having been Commissioner twice and being now connected to the UN, Janez has also the right understanding and networks to maximise the impact of EFI science-policy work at the European and international level.”

More information

After a successful career in Slovenia as a researcher at the Institute of Economic Research, Director of the Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development, Janez Potocnik was appointed Head of Negotiating Team for the Accession of Slovenia to the EU (1998). He was also Director of Government Office for European Affairs (2000), Minister Councillor at the Office of the Prime Minister (2001) and Minister responsible for European Affairs (2002). In 2004 he joined the European Commission, first as shadow Commissioner for Enlargement, then as Commissioner responsible for Science and Research, and from 2010–2014 as Commissioner for Environment. He is currently Co-Chair of the International Resource Panel hosted by UNEP, Chair of the Forum for the Future of Agriculture and RISE Foundation and a Member of the European Policy Centre's Advisory Council.

More information: EFI Director Marc Palahí (firstname.lastname@efi.int) 

Photo: Martti Kainulainen, Lehtikuva