Convening on the penultimate day of the United Nations Forum on Forests’ fourteenth session, delegates considered efforts to streamline sustainable forest management and respect for biodiversity across the work of Governments, regional groups and industries, with speakers diverging on the importance of ensuring a fully synchronized global approach to such endeavours.
In discussions throughout the day, Forum members touched on topics with broad implications for the future of forest management schemes around the globe. Those included efforts to enhance cooperation and coordination in implementing the United Nations strategic plan for forests 2017-2030, as well as the work of the Collaborative Partnership for Forests, an informal group of 15 forest‑related international organizations.
Prof. KOWERO said the African Forest Forum is a membership institution, with more than 2,000 members who define the agenda to be implemented by the secretariat. Describing some of the seven programmatic areas, he said that, in terms of better forest management, efforts focus on expanding forest cover, notably through investments in plantations and farmer-managed regeneration efforts, including in South Africa, measures that are attracting private sector interest. Forest certification and free husbandry practices are also under way. Regarding the role of forests in poverty alleviation, efforts focus on livelihood opportunities. In terms of forest supplies, the private sector is highly disorganized and studies were undertaken to understand which public-private partnerships can be promoted. As for the contribution of trees to environmental health, efforts focus on biodiversity and other activities that correspond to Goals 1, 2 and 6. In terms of forests’ contribution to food, nutrition and food security, efforts focus on interactions between forests and agriculture at the landscape level. “We’re still scouting for resources to work in this area,” he said, citing other activities in the areas of policies and governance, local forest management, capacity-building and skills development.