Sustainable Forestry for Food Security and Nutrition: the new HLPE report

3 July 2017, Rome - The High Level Panel of Experts on food security and nutrition (HLPE), the science-policy interface of the United Nations Committee on World Food Security (CFS), launched on June 27 its report on Sustainable Forestry for Food Security and Nutrition. This report is the result of the collective work of an international project team of scientists, with diverse expertise, led by Terry Sunderland, CIFOR principal scientist.

It is the first time that CFS will consider and discuss the multiple contributions of forests and trees to food security and nutrition (FSN).

Forests and trees contribute to FSN in multiple ways. They provide wood, energy, foods and other products. They generate income and employment for many people, often the most vulnerable. They deliver ecosystem services vital for FSN in the long term, including water and carbon cycle regulation and protection of biodiversity. These contributions vary according to types of forests and the way they are managed in a wide diversity of specific contexts. They are particularly important for the 1 to 1.7 billion of forest-dependent people worldwide.

Increasing and competing demands on land, forests and trees create new challenges and opportunities for food security and nutrition. As pointed out by Dr Patrick Caron, HLPE Chairperson, “there is globally an important potential for forests and trees to enhance their contributions to FSN through sustainable forest management, forest and landscape restoration and development of agroforestry systems. This potential creates additional reasons to protect and invest in forests, and generates new jobs and opportunities.”

This report calls for a renewed understanding of sustainable forestry in order to fully integrate the different functions of forests and trees at different spatial and temporal scales. This requires inclusive governance mechanisms that enable the full and effective participation of concerned stakeholders, including indigenous peoples and local communities.

This report goes beyond the distinctions between forest types and definitions, and draws a more holistic perspective of the roles of forests and trees outside forests for sustainable development and food security and nutrition. It highlights the synergies between forests and agriculture and calls for multifunctional landscapes for FSN that integrate forests and trees as key components.

As highlighted by Ms Semedo, FAO Deputy Director General, “if the world’s forests would be provided with the enabling conditions described in the 7 major recommendations of the report, the impact on FSN, would be considerable, especially for rural people in particular for women, youth and Indigenous Peoples”.

Her Excellency Amira Gornass, CFS Chairperson, affirmed that this HLPE report, “using a common language”, enables CFS members and participants “to better understand the dynamics at play and the multiple links between forests, trees and food security and nutrition”. She said that “this very comprehensive analysis will help CFS to reach concrete results at the end of its policy convergence process and to agree on good, specific, short and concrete policy recommendations, under the leadership of the rapporteur, His Excellency Francois Pythoud, ambassador of Switzerland to FAO, WFP and IFAD”.

last updated:  Tuesday, July 4, 2017