UNFF calls on countries to tackle forest degradation, deforestation


NEW YORK • Chair of the 14th session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) Boris Greguska on Monday urged all countries and stakeholders to tackle the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, while striking a balance between economic growth, social progress and sustainability, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Speaking at the session, Greguska said governance must be improved to integrate forest issues across sectors and implement coherent policies and programmes.

On behalf of undersecretary general Liu Zhenmin, UN assistant secretary general for policy coordination and inter-agency affairs in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs Maria-Francesca Spatolisano noted that 2019 marks the second anniversary of the adoption of the UN Strategic Plan for Forests.

In April 2017, the UN General Assembly adopted the first ever UN Strategic Plan for Forests 2017-2030, which provides a global framework for actions at all levels to sustainably manage all types of forests and trees outside forests and halt deforestation and forest degradation.

At the heart of the strategic plan are six Global Forest Goals and 26 associated targets to be achieved by 2030, which are voluntary and universal.

Calling for stronger cooperation and political commitments, Spatolisano said forests are among the most productive renewable natural resources, and they drive economic growth and represent a safety net for the rural and urban poor in developing countries.

Unfortunately, development policies that prioritise land use for agriculture and energy continued to result in deforestation, she said, recalling that expanding global forest area by 3% is a landmark goal of the strategic plan.

Permanent Representative of Senegal to the UN Cheikh Niang, on behalf of the African Group and aligning himself with the Group of 77, also urged the international forest community to redouble efforts to implement the strategic plan as a tool for achieving poverty eradication, supporting rural livelihoods and protecting biodiversity and genetic resources for future generations. — Bernama