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G77 & China - Rome Chapter

COFO24 : G77 & China Joint Statement on Item 4: "State of the World’s Forests 2018: Key finding's"

16/07/2018

Thank you Mr. Chair,

It is an honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the group of 77 and China on the key findings of the “State of the World’s Forests 2018”.

 We welcome the key findings of SOFO 2018 and its focus on the interlinkages between sustainable forestry management and the achievement of Agenda 2030.

SOFO 2018 assesses how policies on forests and trees can generate benefits to and be affected by the implementation of other Sustainable Development Goals – beyond SDG 15, on Life on Land.  By considering those interlinkages and synergies, SOFO reinforces the very essence of the 2030 Agenda: the interdependency and indivisibility of SDGs and the need to ensure that no one is left behind.

Forests act as a source of food, medicine and fuel for more than a billion people. In addition, they hold more than three - quarters of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity, provide many products and services that contribute to socio - economic development, and are particularly important for hundreds of millions of people in rural areas, including many of the world’s poorest.

 Moreover, Forests help protect soils and water, deal with the negative impacts of climate change by acting as carbon sinks, and host pollinators and natural predators of agricultural pests.

 To achieve the ultimate goal of eradicating poverty and hunger, improving nutrition and realizing the right to adequate food, it is crucial to acknowledge that those are multidimensional challenges, that can only be fully addressed by the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals in an integrated manner.

 Likewise, it is paramount to recognize that food security, nutrition and sustainable food systems are intertwined, as well as to assess their relation taking into account the three dimensions of sustainable development: social, economic and environmental.

 Forests play an important role in this regard, as they provide food, fuel and income to many families, contribute to the water cycle, soil conservation and carbon sequestration, respond to climate change negative effects and host pollinators and natural predators of agricultural pests, among other ecosystem services.

 Mr. Chair,

Fortunately, SOFO 2018 indicates that there is quantitative evidence to show that forests are being managed more sustainably, that the area of forests managed for soil and water conservation has increased globally, and that the pace of loss of forest cover has decreased recently.

 On the other hand, as population growth is expected to ramp up global demand for food, with possible impacts in land use, it is more than ever time to consider ways of dealing with inequalities and promoting sustainable patterns of production and consumption in food systems, in a way that protects the most vulnerable.

 

Mr. Chair,

 There is still much to be done. SOFO provides some pathways.

 It highlights that increasing food production and food security without reducing forest area remains a challenge. There are many possible solutions to such challenge, taking into account different capacities, priorities and realities of each sector and country.  In some cases, such as remote monitoring[UW2] , sustainable forest management requires significant investment and technology. Developing countries are already doing a lot to cope with their responsibility, but further can be done with the appropriate support. We call on FAO to giving priority to these issues, including by building capacities in and helping technology transfer to developing countries in the area of forestry.

G77 and China encourages FAO to continue promoting integrated, multidisciplinary approaches to sustainable food systems and forests, helping disseminate good practices selected from diverse contexts, including agroforestry systems, agroecology, biotechnology and GIAHS.

 We acknowledge the pertinence of alternatives identified by SOFO that could contribute to achieving sustainability, such as strengthening legal frameworks that secure the rights of local communities and smallholders, including innovate tools such as the  Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, coordinating policies across ministries and unlocking the potential of the informal sector. Those options can be explored and combined according to the needs and priorities of each country.

 Mr. Chair,

Countries must be in the driver’s seat when it comes to defining how to promote their sustainable development, including the role of forests and trees. But providing adequate means of implementation to developing countries, promoting cooperation and fostering multi-stakeholder partnerships are paramount to that end.

 In this regard, SOFO’s findings and recommendations on SDGs 15, 6, 7, 11 and 12 and 13 must be complemented by due consideration of Sustainable Development Goal 17, on means of implementation which requires allocating enough financial resources including through Official Development Assistance.

 We encourage FAO to continue to provide the necessary tools, guidelines and capacity building to support countries in collecting and using relevant data for forest-related policy making and reporting.

Moreover, we acknowledge the potential of multi-stakeholder partnerships towards a more sustainable relation between development, food systems and forests. Bringing together stakeholders with different backgrounds and roles can help identifying innovative solutions and strengthening synergies.

 Considering its priority for the G77 and China, South-south and triangular cooperation need to be reinforced, with the support of FAO.

 We agree with SOFO’s conclusion that forest-friendly activities should be supported by adequate incentives. Those might include financial instruments, such as results-based payments, voluntary certification schemes and support for small producers to access services and markets.

 Mr. Chair,

Regarding the points for consideration in the document, G77 and China would like to suggest the following specific amendments:

Rephrase paragraph 24, bullet 1, as follows: “improve recognition that poverty alleviation, food security, food systems, conservation and sustainable use of natural resources and forests are closely linked and that forests contribute to multiple SDGs;”

 Rephrase paragraph 24, bullet 2, as follows: “promote integrated approaches to national development policies and strategies to harmonize sector policies and ensure policy coherence, as appropriate, taking into account their national priorities and capacities ;”

 Rephrase paragraph 25, bullet 2, as follows: “assist countries in strengthening the role of forests and trees in achieving multiple SDGs and in accelerating progress in this regard, according to their national priorities and strategies;”

 Rephrase paragraph 25, bullet 3, as follows: "assist countries in strengthening the role of forests and trees in achieving multiple SDGs and in accelerating progress in this regard, according to their national priorities and strategies and the guidance provided by the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development”.