Need for transformational change to address food security, agriculture and forestry together

FAO Director-General highlights solutions to deforestation on the margins of COP25

12 December 2019, Madrid - FAO Director-General QU Dongyu today called for a transformational change aimed at addressing food security, agriculture and forestry together - through a holistic approach.

"It is possible to reconcile food security, agriculture production and forest conservation," said the FAO chief at a dialogue on "turning the tide on deforestation" on the margins of COP25.

To this end, FAO is working with countries to coordinate land use approaches across sectors, ensuring integrated management of forests and agriculture so that both food security and forestry objectives are met.

Qu pointed out that a number of countries have managed to reduce the number of undernourished people and improve agricultural productivity while maintaining or increasing their forest area.

Agriculture is a significant contributor to deforestation (over 70 percent), and with rising population and food demands, forests are increasingly under pressure.

To address this, the FAO Director-General put forward solutions such as: the need to forge an agreement on reducing the footprints of agricultural commodities, especially livestock and cash crops, boosting technology and innovation, and strengthening partnerships to address forest-related issues.

For example, FAO has developed an innovative set of forest monitoring tools allowing users to access and process large amounts of forest data and satellite images directly on their mobile phones.

Qu listed several successful global, FAO-supported initiatives tackling deforestation, climate change, food insecurity and poverty that could be scaled up. These include: the UN-REDD Programme, the Sustainable Wood for a Sustainable World, the Great Green Wall, and the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

Qu also announced the release of FAO's Global Forest Resources Assessment's key results in 2020 - an important resource to guide forestry policy across the world and ensure that decisions are based on evidence.  

In closing, Qu reiterated FAO's commitment to continue working with partners to turn the tide against deforestation.

Photo: ©FAO/Giulio Napolitano
Rising population and food demands are increasingly putting forests under pressure.

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