Healthy forests ‘crucial for economic development’
UN member states will meet in Istanbul over the coming days to discuss the role of forests in ensuring social and economic development.
With the ‘Earth’s lung’, the Amazon, experiencing wild deforestation at levels never before seen, the UN’s Forum on Forests programme aims to improve the state of global forestry.
The meeting will look at how to address deforestation issues, increase protection and help developing countries in forest management.
UN under-secretary-general for economic and social affairs Wu Hongbo said, “Sustainable forest management cannot happen without prerequisite institutional and policy frameworks.
“One important issue relates to adequate and sustained financing, which is also on the agenda for this session.”
Forests play a crucial role not only in keeping our planet alive, but also in sustaining people and the economy. The UN estimates that around 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihoods and that forestry products account for almost $468 billion per year in the global market.
However, the social and environmental value of forests is near-impossible to quantify: they provide shelter for many animal and plant species; they help tackle climate change and preserve biodiversity. Losing them would mean losing a precious ally and a vital environment.
Jan McAlpine, director of the UN Forum on Forests secretariat said that if forestry management is assigned to the agriculture ministry, forests will end up being forgotten about, with priority given to other sectors.
“The biggest challenge is that while forests are managed and impacted by many, many sectors and by many institutions, they do not work together”, she said.
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