Source: Small Island Developing States
8 July 2018: A UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) event, held on the sidelines of the High-lPolitical Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), explored success stories and lessons learned in implementing forest-based solutions to accelerate achievement of the SDGs.
Co-organized by Brazil, Burkina Faso, Canada, Malaysia and the Russian Federation – the Bureau Sponsoring Countries of UNFF13 – the event took place on Sunday, 8 July 2018, at UN Headquarters in New York, US.
The event highlighted key messages contained in the Chair’s Summary from a Ministerial Roundtable at UNFF13, which explored forest-based solutions for accelerating achievement of the interlinked SDGs under review by HLPF 2018: Goal 6 (clean water and sanitation); Goal 7 (affordable and clean energy); Goal 11 (sustainable cities and communities); Goal 12 (responsible consumption and production); Goal 15 (life on land), which includes sustainably managing forests; and Goal 17 (partnerships for the Goals).
A Chair’s Summary of the UNFF13 dialogue highlights four key messages for consideration at HLPF 2018, as well as an overview of forest-based solutions for accelerating achievement of the SDGs.
The first message underscores the crucial role that forests play in food, water, wood, energy, biodiversity, health and climate change, which makes the sustainable management of forests and restoration of forest landscapes a key factor in achieving the SDGs. The second message underscores the need for urgent action to halt deforestation and restore degraded forests by 2020 (SDG target 15.2) through applying and upscaling best practices and tools and accelerating progress. The third message relates to concerns about continuing fragmentation in global forest governance and the need for enhanced synergies across the UN system and beyond the Collaborative Partnership for Forests. The final message highlights the role of the UN Strategic Plan for Forests 2017-2030, and achieving its Global Forest Goals and targets, in accelerating achievement of all SDGs.
1.6 billion people, or 25% of the global population, depend on forests for subsistence, livelihood, employment and income generation.
Noting that 1.6 billion people, or 25% of the global population, depend on forests for subsistence, livelihood, employment and income generation, the Chair’s Summary highlights the need to tackle the many drivers of deforestation that lie outside the forest sector and which are often rooted in policies that “favor land uses which produce higher and more rapid financial returns.” It underscores in particular the role of agriculture, “which is responsible for 80% of forest loss globally.”
Addressing some of the key lessons learned as well as specific challenges in fully harnessing forests and related ecosystem services for sustainable development, the Summary highlights the need to: fully capture the value of such services in markets and public policies at all levels; identify renewable and sustainable wood-based solutions as well as wood energy alternatives to meet the basic needs of rural populations; address unsustainable and illegal harvesting of forest resources; and integrate forest areas and trees into urban landscapes.
The Chair’s Summary also highlights a number of forest-based solutions and integrated responses to accelerate implementation of the SDGs. Within the broad area of upscaling best practices and tools, the Summary highlights the importance of enhancing: integrated landscape and water management approaches; diversified agricultural systems that utilize agroforestry and silvo-cultural approaches; verification of sustainable forest management practices and legal and sustainable value chains in agriculture and forestry commodities; and alternative livelihoods for forest-dependent populations.
The Chair’s Summary concludes by reiterating the role of innovation and technology, resource mobilization, good governance, and “transformational information, communication and education” in accelerating forest-based solutions to today’s global challenges.
The HLPF Thematic Review of SDG 15 (Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss) takes place on Friday, 13 July 2018.
UNFF13 convened from 7-11 May 2018 in New York. [HLPF Pre-Event Information] [UNFF13 Ministerial Roundtable Chair’s Summary] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on UNFF13 Outcomes]