FAO Liaison Office in Brussels

Forests at the Heart of Sustainable Development


FAO and Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Benedek Jávor, together with MEPs Heidi Hautala, José Inácio Faria, Jo Leinen and Sirpa Pietikäinen organized on 7 February the High-level conference “Forests at the heart of Sustainable Development.” The purpose of the conference was to shed light on the diverse social, economic and environmental benefits linked to the

sustainable management of forests, as well as to highlight the contribution of forests and trees to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.

Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, stressed the need for a strong partnership approach to enhance the contribution of forests to sustainable development. In her opening remarks, FAO Deputy-Director General, Maria-Helena Semedo, highlighted that an integrated approach to food security, agriculture and forest management is needed to bring about real transformational change and achieve the 2030 Agenda. Ms Semedo also held fruitful bilateral meetings with a number of EU and ACP officials, in the margins of the conference.

Other keynote speakers at the event included African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States Secretariat Assistant Secretary-General, Viwanou Gnassounou, Deputy Director-General of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development Marjeta Jager and renowned Professor, Economist and SDG Advocate to the UN Secretary General, Jeffrey Sachs. The European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan intervened via a video message. The webcast of the event can be viewed here.

Keeping the momentum going, and only a couple of weeks later, the German Agency for Development Cooperation (GIZ) organized a well-attended event on forests with the participation of the Director of the FAO Liaison Office.