Forests 2011 events

Throughout the year, FAO hosted and participated in many International Year of Forests 2011 events. Celebrating Forests for People presents a brief summary of FAO's IYF activities throughout the year.

Rome, 20 December - The FAO Forestry Department held a closing event for the International Year of Forests 2011 at FAO headquarters for Permanent Representatives, Rome-based intergovernmental organizations, external partners, and FAO staff. Showcased prominently at the event was the new publication, Fruit trees and useful plants in Amazonian Life, a joint production of FAO, the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and People and Plants International. The event also presented FAO products from the International Year of Forests and discussed recent results from the Remote Sensing Survey. Products at the event were complemented by video products, such as one entitled ‘Forests for People’, the theme of the year, and a tribute film to the late Wangari Maathai. To read more about the Amazonian book, see the press release.

Celebrating Forests for People presents a brief summary of FAO's IYF activities throughout the year.

Photo: ©FAO/Giulio Napolitano Rome, November - FAO is marking the end of the International Year of Forests with an unusual sculpture exhibition in the Atrium. Some 28 large-scale works by the Finnish wood sculptors group Puunkuokkijat are on show until the end of November.  The three artists in the group – Kari Kärkkäinen, Matti Kurkela and Seppo Kalliokoski – share a common mission to reinvent wood as a modern material for sculpture. Among the works on display at headquarters are an extraordinary armadillo-like creation (pictured), as well as sculptures resembling triffids and mysterious seed pods. The show was inaugurated last year in Pécs, Hungary – a 2010 European Capital of Culture – and has since toured Croatia and Slovenia before coming to FAO. See some of the works here.

Tobago, October - Women in Forestry in the Caribbean Symposium  Women from around the Caribbean met to discuss how women can have equitable and effective roles in forest management in the Caribbean.  The women agreed to work together to develop strategies to improve gender equality and to continue to share experiences and lessons learnt through the formation of the Women in Forestry in the Caribbean Network.

Bangalore, October - Rediscovering wood: The key to a sustainable future.

Three hundred and fifty participants from across the globe and over three thousand members of the public gathered in Bangalore to discuss the key role of wood use as part of the path to sustainability. The conference placed a particular emphasis on the aesthetics of wood and included various exhibitions and side events as well as the involvement of a broad range of speakers from a diverse array of fields.

Rome, October - Staff get hands dirty for International Year of Forests. More than 50 FAO staff took part in a tree-planting event near Rome this week - organised by the forestry department to celebrate the International Year of Forests. Each employee was provided with a seedling to plant at an Italian state forestry department site at Castel Fusano, near Ostia. Among those getting their hands dirty was Eduardo Rojas-Briales, Assistant Director-General, Forestry. Video by Roberto Cenciarelli.

Carl Lewis samples a moth caterpillarNew York, September - Gambia's Community Forestry Policy, put in place with support from  FAO, has won silver in the 2011 Future Policy Awards as one of the world's most inspiring and innovative forest policies. Three policies which most effectively contribute to the conservation and sustainable development of forests for current and future generations were chosen as prizewinners today by the World Future Council at UN Headquarters in New York. FAO Goodwill Ambassador and Olympic track legend Carl Lewis, who attended the Awards ceremony, said that "the Gambia's people-centered approach has been highly successful and represents a model to replicate in other countries with similar forestry environment." At the 2011 Future Policy Award Ceremony, forest policies were on the agenda and forest food on the menu

Honorable Minister F.D Nhema invites the FAO Forestry Officer Rene Czudek to try the traditional Shona drum beatMarondera, Zimbabwe,  August - To commemorate the International Year of Forests, the Forestry Commission of Zimbabwe organized a tree-planting event to encourage local tobacco farmers to sustainably manage their forests by establishing fast-growing tree species, for use in the curing of tobacco. The event was organized as a response to recent information released by the University of Zimbabwe, which indicates that tobacco curing is the fifth major driver of deforestation in Zimbabwe, and from FAO, which revealed that Zimbabwe loses about 300 000ha of forest every year. Zimbabwe’s Honorable Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Management Francis Nhema was the guest of honor at the tree-planting event, along with many other senior government officials and representatives from NGOs and the private sector, particularly those involved in tobacco production.

Port-au-Prince/Haiti, 14 June  - - FAO Goodwill Ambassador and Olympic track legend Carl Lewis ended a two-day visit to Haiti today where he saw for himself reforestation efforts to help the country protect itself against flash floods and mudslides as hurricane season begins. Lewis's visit was planned to mark the UN's celebration of the International Year of Forests and followed a similar trip to the neighboring Dominican Republic.

Bangkok, June - Staff at FAO's Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific unveil building banners to celebrate the International Year of Forests.


Jakarta, 31 May – Indonesian singer and FAO Goodwill Ambassador Anggun concluded her mission to Indonesia during which she visited a forestry site and the FAO Representation offices in Jakarta to discuss reforestation activities in the coastal areas affected by the tsunami disaster. “Among other damage, trees were snapped, uprooted and undermined by the waves and strong currents,” said Anggun. “Because coastal forests provide protection against tsunamis, it is vital to restore or establish green walls of forests against future disasters.” Anggun highlighted the fact that the International Year of Forests provides an excellent opportunity to raise awareness on the importance of forests for people and communities, and the urgent need to reduce deforestation and protect forests in Indonesia.  Indonesia holds the world’s third largest tropical forest. Around two thirds of the land area is covered by forest, making it an important resource for Indonesia and its people.

“We all benefit from forests because they are an important resource for water, clean air, food, medicine and shelter. This is why we need to improve forests and manage them wisely to conserve them for future generations,” said Anggun. “It is extremely important that we bring forests and trees back to the landscape in Indonesia because they increase coastal protection, provide forest products and environmental services for local communities.”

The best-selling Asian recording artist, outside of Asia with more than 2 million albums sold in Europe, was appointed Millennium Development Champion in 2010 by the United Nations Secretary-General in the light of her commitment to global humanitarian objectives.

Rome, 20 April 2011:Earth Day Concert

FAO Forestry Department Assistant Director-General presents "Forests are our Home" t-shirt at Earth Day celebrations in Rome, ItalyAssistant Director-General of Forestry Eduardo Rojas-Briales took part in the Earth Day concert held in Rome on 20 April to support the initiative and talk about the International Year of Forests to the 30,000 young people attending the concert.  ADG Rojas shared the stage with international and Italian rock legends Patti Smith and Carmen Consoli.

Short video segments about the importance of managing and protecting our forests were shown throughout the concert and ADG Rojas spoke to the audience about the importance of forest ecosystems to local communities and to the earth as a whole:  "Besides wood, forests provide shelter to people and habitats to biodiversity. They are a source of food, medicine and clean water and play a vital role in maintaining a stable global climate and environment. They are home to rich spiritual and cultural values. "  Click to see photo gallery.

FAO gave its patronage to the Earth Day event, which is now in its fourth year.   The concert was broadcast live on radio and via internet and was also shown later in the week on the Italian Sky One satellite TV channel.

Rome, 9 February 2011: Briefing for FAO Permanent Representatives on the International Year of Forests and the State of the World’s Forests 2011  

right to left: Eduardo Rojas-Briales, Ann Tutwiler, Mette Loyche-Wilkie, Adrian Whiteman, Susan Braatz, Sophie GrouwelsFAO's Deputy Director-General Ann Tutwiler, Assistant Director-General of the Forestry Department, Eduardo Rojas-Briales, and a panel of experts briefed Permanent Representatives to the Food and Agriculture Organization on communication plans for the International Year of Forests and the 2011 edition of the FAO flagship publication the State of the World’s Forests (SOFO).

FAO will take the lead or participate in a broad range of activities during Forests 2011, including hosting international symposia and conferences, collaborating with partners and engaging in communication and outreach initiatives. Beyond its own work, FAO encourages forest-related organizations around the world to promote the year through independent initiatives and supports them with the information available on the FAO Forests 2011 website and a communications toolkit.

SOFO 2011 explores the multiple ways in which forests support people’s livelihoods under the theme "Changing pathways, changing lives: forests as multiple pathways to sustainable development". The report addresses three core subjects – sustainable forest industries, climate change and local livelihoods - and examines their potential to stimulate development at all levels. It also includes new regional level analyses drawn from the Global Forest Resource Assessment 2010.

New York, 2 February 2011: The United Nations Forum on Forests launches the International Year of Forests

Forests 2011 launch ceremony programme activities included:

  • Press Conference with Eduardo Rojas-Briales, Assistant Director-General, FAO and Wangaari Maathai, Nobel Prize winner  FAO press release | UN press release
  • Press Conference with Jan McAlpine, Director UN Forum on Forests Secretariat, Yann Arthus-Bertrand, Good Planet Foundation of France and Felix Finkbeiner, Plant-for-the-Planet Children’s Initiative 
  • Premiere of  Mr.Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s short film “FOREST”
  • Clips from winning films of the International Forest Film Festival which was organized by the UN Forum on Forest Secretariat in collaboration with the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival  

The Forests 2011 launch coincided with the release of the State of the World’s Forests 2011 during a press conference at United Nations Headquarters.  The Forests 2011 launch ceremony and program was incorporated into the high level Ministerial segment of the United Nations Forum of Forests.  The ceremony was presided over by H.E. Mr. Joseph Deiss, President of the 65th session of the United Nations General Assembly and attended by world leaders, Nobel Laureate Wangaari Maathai and forest experts at the United Nations. The Assistant Director-General of the Forestry Department and a panel of experts briefed Permanent Representatives to the Food and Agriculture Organization on communication plans for the International Year of Forests and the 2011 edition of the FAO flagship publication, the State of the World’s Forests (SOFO).


last updated:  Monday, January 30, 2012