Sub-theme 4: Forests and human health and well-being: revisiting the connections
This sub-theme will include five technical sessions and side events to present evidence from the latest research as well as traditional knowledge on the connections between forests and human health and well-being. We will give voice to forest actors and diverse stakeholders – urban and rural, identify challenges and review innovative solutions.
For policymakers concerned about meeting SDGs on poverty and hunger, inclusive economic growth, conservation, and climate change, forest communities and landscapes are of particular importance. At the same time, forest lands and resources offer significant opportunities for livelihoods and economic growth— including from agriculture, agroforestry, non-timber and timber products, and forest-related ecosystem services—particularly where local people are able to secure and benefit from these resources. Whether living in cities, towns or remote areas, people recognize and benefit from psychological and spiritual functions that forest ecosystems provide to many societies. Relevant examples of these non-tangible benefits include recreation and social harmony in peace parks and forest strips along once contested borders.
Overview of the connection of forest ecosystems to human health, well-being and social stability
May 2, 2022 | 4:00 PM KST - 5:30 PM KST
The global status and knowledge of the relationships between forests and trees with human health and well-being will be presented, including review of the latest data and evidence. While this will be a stand-alone session, it will also serve in part as an introduction for the entire sub-theme 4 on 'Forests and human health – revisiting the connections.'
The session will explore the different links between forests and human health focusing on people living in or near forests; and urban populations and industrialized societies. It will also consider the implications of COVID-19 and the potential role of forests in improving the resilience of human health, well-being and social stability among these people and societies.
Forests for human health
May 3, 2022 | 11:00 AM KST - 12:30 PM KST
The session will focus on highlighting the importance of forests for human health and well-being worldwide, particularly from the health sector perspectives. Experts and practitioners from across the world will be brought together to share their experiences.
The session seeks to review and improve understanding on key practices and ways forward to unlock the full potential of forests for human health. This will be achieved through discussions among the experts and practitioners on the following topics: (i) Forest medicine (ii) Forest therapy and healing (iii) Integrating forest therapy in public health: data, knowledge and information sharing (iv) Promoting forest medicine and therapy in a contemporary world: practical approaches and the role of professionals, practitioners and stakeholders. (v) Forests for healthy and sustainable diets.
Forests for securing livelihoods
May 3, 2022 | 4:00 PM KST - 5:30 PM KST
This session will highlight the role of forests for food security, boosting resilient food systems, inclusive rural development and alleviating poverty in forest-dependent communities and the many family farmers living in forested landscapes. The session will examine how forest and farm producer organizations are looking for options to protect and enhance the value of their biological and cultural (bio-cultural) heritage through market mechanisms, as well as to secure inclusive and equitable rights, access, and tenure over the natural resources they depend on. The multi-dimensional resilience required from forest and farm producers and their organizations, as productive and protective partners of forest landscapes, requires strategic alliances with local, national, and regional governments as well as with the corporate and financial sectors.
This session will bring together voices of practitioners in forest and farm landscapes, their supporters, as well as researchers to discuss trends and findings, and to identify anchor points to build on each other’s knowledge and experience to address forest degradation, biodiversity loss, poverty, and inequality as they affect the contributions of forests to human health and well-being.
Forests for social cohesion
May 4, 2022 | 11:00 AM KST - 12:30 PM KST
This session will bring together experiences of practitioners in forest and farm landscapes, civil society groups, researchers and government to discuss key findings on how different forms of social cohesion can help form the glue of sustainable forest landscapes. Forest and farm producer organizations (FFPO) in forest landscapes are providing many crucial social and cultural services to vulnerable members of their constituencies, while also balancing economic and environmental trade-offs. Indigenous People’s organizations, in particular, prioritize protecting and strengthening their members’ cultural identity and well-being.
- How can FFPOs facilitate greater social inclusion by investing in services or by working in partnership with government to link with social protection programmes?
- How can equitable empowerment of individuals/champions (women and men) within FFPOs and an enabling environment facilitate social cohesion and improve the sustainability of rural and national development?
- Many FFPOs are developing youth ‘chapters’ and strategies to keep young farmers interested, but there is a need for a more enabling policy environment that invests in rural youth endeavours in forest landscapes and beyond.
- Protection of primary and intact forests is increasingly important for the global ecosystem services they provide and for the diverse communities that inhabit them. This session will offer a concrete strategy on ways to build the social cohesion of forest inhabitants as a prerequisite for the sustainable management of primary forests with major carbon sequestration potential.
Forests for humanity and peace
May 5, 2022 | 2:30 PM KST - 4:00 PM KST
This session will focus on addressing the important role forests can play in providing cultural and spiritual benefits; building harmony; and reducing conflict and promoting peace. It will explore the philosophical and spiritual place and meaning of forests in human societies globally from the most remote forest communities to the inhabitants of the world’s largest cities.
The objective of the session is to provide a common platform for Indigenous People, experts, practitioners and policymakers to discuss and review priorities for research, policy reform, education and capacity building to secure the natural assets of forests for humanity and a peaceful world. The discussion will lead to recommendations on ways forward to improve the contribution of forests to health, well-being, peace and harmony of humanity globally.