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UN Forum on Forests Calls for Urgent Action Amidst Global Crises: Charting a Course for Sustainable Development

The UN Forum on Forests 19th session underscores the imperative for concerted global action to navigate the complex challenges facing forests and sustainable development in the coming decade.

Shivam Dwivedi
Forest Management (Representative Photo Source: Pexels)
Forest Management (Representative Photo Source: Pexels)

Amidst a backdrop of increasingly frequent natural disasters, worsening climate change, and a host of socio-economic challenges, the United Nations Forest Forum (UNFF) gathered for its 19th session to confront pressing issues impacting global forests and sustainable development. Operating under the umbrella of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the forum highlighted the critical need to address setbacks and accelerate progress towards achieving the Global Forest Goals (GFG) by 2030.

Juliette Biao, Director of the UNFF Secretariat, highlighted the pressing need for concerted action, citing a backdrop of escalating crises ranging from climate change impacts to poverty and conflict. Biao stressed that achieving the GFG requires strong political commitment and partnerships among nations. Biao highlighted that they desire a world where all types of forests are sustainably managed, highlighting the crucial role of healthy forests as nature-based solutions to contemporary sustainable development challenges.

Objectives of UN Forum on Forests 19

The 19th session of the UN Forest Forum, scheduled from May 1st to May 10th, aims to conduct a comprehensive review of the International Arrangement on Forests (IAF). Peter Gondo, an inter-regional adviser of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), highlighted the session's critical objectives. This includes assessing progress towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 and identifying key gaps that hinder the realization of these goals.

Gondo highlighted that the outcomes of UNFF19 will include a high-level segment declaration and an omnibus resolution. These resolutions will encapsulate the midterm review findings and outline the Quadrennial Program of Work for 2025-2028, charting a course for future forest-related initiatives. Moreover, the forum precedes the Small Island Developing States Conference (SIDS4) in late May, which specifically addresses sustainable development challenges in small island nations.

Forests' Role in Sustainable Development

Highlighting the significance of forests for Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Gondo stressed the multifaceted benefits of forests and trees. These ecosystems contribute significantly to freshwater availability, coastal protection, biodiversity conservation, and economic development through trade in forest products.

Gondo noted the pivotal role of the Global Forest Financing Facilitation Network (GFFFN), managed by DESA, in supporting SIDS with sustainable forest management initiatives aligned with the 2030 Agenda.

In tandem with broader global crises, the UN Forest Forum aligns with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)'s recognition of climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss as interconnected planetary challenges. Forests, according to Gondo, play a central role in mitigating these crises by regulating climate, enhancing air quality, and providing essential livelihoods and food security.

(Inputs taken from UN)

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