“Forests are the lungs of our planet’ said Susana Malcorra, reiterating the call to action by the Secretary-General in a special event on the occasion of the International Day of Forests; the theme of which was celebrating Forests for Sustainable Development, with a special emphasis on the role of women. Ms. Susana Malcorra, an under Secretary-General and Chef de cabinet in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General in her keynote address further added that, Forests are vital for sustainability. They provide food for over one billion people. Women and children are the most common consumers of natural forest foods. They cover one third of all land area and are home to 80 per cent of terrestrial biodiversity.
She further stated that the links between Women and Sustainable Development are irrefutable. For this reason, Governments at Rio+20 Conference recognized that gender equality and women’s empowerment are important components for sustainable development and our common future. True sustainability can only be achieved at the national and regional levels when sustainability takes root at home – and women are fundamental to achieving this.
FAO’s Javier Molina Cruz, Liaison Officer in New York, pointed out that forests are a crucial global resource that provides humankind with a wide range of products and environmental services. They host most of the terrestrial biodiversity and are the sustenance of millions of rural people living in the most disadvantaged areas (deforested degraded land) by providing food, employment, products and income.
Forests have a critical role in the post 2015 agenda, including the SDGs, added Mr. Molina-Cruz, and he invited countries to consider the way in which the full contribution of forests to sustainable development is best captured to overcome the limited focus of forests in the MDGs.
On the role of women in the forestry sector, Molina-Cruz called for reliable sex-disaggregated data. FAO with its strong presence in many countries is working closely with Member States to assess, preserve, sustainably manage, restore and govern their forests for the benefit of the present and future generation, he added.
Also addressing the special event were two young dynamic college students, Rhiannon Tomtishen and Madison Vorva, co-founders of an initiative called, Project Orangs.
Moderator Thomas Gass, the Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs engaged Member States and other stakeholders in a lively discussion with the question, “What do Forests mean to you.” Participants cited a number of positive elements of the Forests in each of their countries which ranged from conservation of biodiversity, preservation of the ecosystem to the role forests play in controlling floods. They also narrated activities being undertaken to save Forests.
The International Day of Forests is dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of all types of forests and trees to our economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being.
Click on the link below for the full-text of the statement delivered by Javier Molina Cruz (FAO/LON)