Forestry being a vital part in the battle against climate change or global warming, President Maithripala Sirisena in Rome yesterday made the keynote speech at the 24th session of the Committee on Forestry (COFO) and the 6th World Forest Week organized by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The Presidential Media Unit says, the Rome meeting will explore the contribution that forests can make to achieve sustainable development goals.
The Committee will examine what contributions forests can make to achieving the SDGs and other internationally agreed goals.
It says the Committee will also explore ways to accelerate progress, in particular, towards Goal 15; discuss actions for implementing the policy recommendations of the Committee on World Food Security regarding the contributions of forests to food security and nutrition; review opportunities and challenges for urban and semi-urban forestry; consider the implementation of the FAO’s climate change strategy and specific tasks related to forest resilience, health and forest fires and provide strategic direction for the future work of FAO in forestry.
According to the presidential media unit, it is significant that President Sirisena is addressing this conference in an environment where the government has taken policy decisions to increase the forest density of the country from 29% to 32% and in a background where numerous steps have been taken in this regard.
According to the FAO yesterday’s session will provide vital opportunities to strengthen policy and programme coordination and to contribute to greater synergies at the organizational level. The session is intended to carry forests and theSustainable Development Goals from aspiration to action.
The presidential media unit says, the government has launched a project to motivate school children to plant at least one tree in home gardens, school premises or wherever possible to encourage and to make children aware of their duty to conserve and preserve nature.
This comes in the aftermath of an FAO warning on July 6 that time is running out for the world’s forests, whose total area is shrinking by the day. In a report the FAO urges governments to foster an all-inclusive approach to benefit both trees and those who rely on them.
Halting deforestation, managing forests sustainably, restoring degraded forests and adding to worldwide tree cover all require actions to avoid potentially damaging consequences for the planet and its people, according to the FAO’s the state of the world’s forests for this year.
Forests and trees contribute far more to human livelihoods than is commonly known, playing crucial roles in food security, drinking water, renewable energy and rural economies. They provide around 20 percent of income for rural households in developing countries - notably more in many areas - and fuel for cooking and heating for one in every three people around the world.
“Forests are critical to livelihoods” said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva. “Healthy and productive forests are essential to sustainable agriculture and we have proof of the significance of forests and trees for the quality of water, for contributing to the energy needs of the future, and for designing sustainable, healthy cities.”
This year’s report documents just how essential forests are for 2030 agenda objectives ranging from tackling climate change to conserving biodiversity, reducing inequalities and improving urban habitats. It offers concrete proof of the multiple contributions forests make and maps pathways for them to do more.
“Trees and forests contribute to achieving multiple targets across the 2030 agenda and need to be incorporated into strategies to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” said FAO Forestry Director Eva Mueller.
The report emphasizes the importance of clear legal frameworks regarding forest tenure rights, applauds the growing trend in local governance, and calls for effective partnerships and private sector engagement to pursue sustainable goals. Given that deforestation is the second leading cause of climate change after burning fossil fuels, it notes that “corporate responsibility for zero deforestation is key.”