FAO in Geneva

International Day of Forests: Learn to Love Forests


International Day of Forests (IDF) – Forests and the SDGs, 21 March

Palais des Nations, Room VIII, 10h30 to 11h45

The International Day of Forests 2019 is commemorated under the theme “Forests and Education” with a slogan “Learn to Love Forests”.  It underscores the importance of forestry education (both scientific and traditional) at all levels in achieving sustainable forest management and biodiversity conservation.

To mark the IDF 2019, FAO Geneva, the UN-REDD Programme Secretariat and UNECE in collaboration with the Permanent Missions of Indonesia, Norway and Pakistan, organized an event titled “Forests and the Sustainable Development Goals” on 21 March.

“Forests is everyone’s business and life as we know it, will not be possible without forests. It is for these reasons that part of FAO’s mandate, is working with its Member States and partners to make forests more productive and sustainable, which is also directly linked to our goal of achieving food security for all”, said Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Director of FAO Geneva.

Ambassador Hans Brattskar, Permanent Representative of Norway reiterated Norway’s commitments to working closely with partner countries to halt deforestation and forest degradation. He informed the audience of the extension of Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative, which was originally thought to last until 2020, but was been extended to 2030. Expressing optimism, he said, “We have the power to make a difference, but we need to be determined, brave, and impatient.”

Ambassador Tahir Hussain Andrabi, Acting Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of Pakistan reminded that deforestation hurts local communities the most, as their livelihoods strongly depend on forests and non-timber forest products. The One Billion Tree Tsunami Campaign showed the commitment of government to counter deforestation and sustain the 5 per cent forest cover in the country.  

Ambassador Andreano Erwin, Deputy Permanent Representative of Indonesia highlighted the important role that local communities play in sustainable forest management.  He informed that, “Between 2015 and 2018, 1.2 million hectares of forest areas are collectively managed by village communities across Indonesia.” He added, “Social Forestry Policy provides solutions to unemployment, poverty, land conflicts, for the rehabilitation of lands and restoration of landscapes, and provide a sense of security and peace of mind to communities by providing them with legal access to forest resources and the Forest Area.”

Moderator Mario Boccucci, Head of the UN-REDD Programme Secretariat said “awareness on the need for forest action has never been greater, nor the ability to deliver transformative change. By working together we can unleash the potential of forests as the leading nature-based solution to climate change and sustainable development, and the role of young people is particularly key here – we have seen how youth are stepping up to the climate challenge”.

The event featured an award presentation to the winners of the essay and drawing competition. Year 6 students of the Institut International de Lancy and the International School of Geneva participated, with sixty-two entries coming from the two schools.  

Chloe of the Institut International de Lancy was invited to read her winning essay at the event and Lucas of the International School of Geneva who was unavoidably absent, did his by video.

In thanking the children, parents and teachers while recognizing the important role of young people in forestry, Ms Rodrigues-Birkett quoted from an essay submitted by Karla of the International School of Geneva, “The world has to learn how to love forests, how to take care of them because without them we can’t live. We depend on forests and they depend on us.”



Forests and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - 21 March 2019

Moderator: Mr Mario Boccucci, Head of UN-REDD Programme Secretariat

Opening remarks by Ms Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Director of FAO Geneva

Address by H.E. Mr. Hans Brattskar, Permanent Representative of Norway

Norway’s experiences including the Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative

Address by H.E. Mr Tahir Hussain Andrabi, Acting Permanent Representative of Pakistan

Pakistan’s efforts in forestry, including the Billion Tree Campaign

Address by H.E. Mr Andreano Erwin, Deputy Permanent Representative of Indonesia

Forest management and the linkages with the SDGs and the Paris Agreement

Presentation by Ms Paola Deda, Chief of the UNECE/FAO Forestry and Timber Section, UNECE

Forest education and green jobs

Award presentation to Essay and Drawing Competition Winners


Contact: Wirya Khim, FAO Natural Resources Officer at [email protected]