Greater awareness needed of forests’ contribution to SDGs, says FAO Forestry ADG

Freiburg, Germany, 19 September 2017 – The contributions made by forests towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are not fully explored and understood but FAO and partner organizations are working towards addressing this, FAO Assistant Director-General for Forestry Hiroto Mitsugi said Tuesday.

As one measure, FAO will analyze and describe forests’ contributions in its 2018 State of the World’s Forests (SOFO) report, Mitsugi told a panel event at the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) 125th Anniversary Conference in Freiburg, Germany.

The issue is significant because insufficient recognition of how forests can contribute to the SDGs could have far-reaching implications for cross-sectoral policy development, Mitsugi said during the three-day IUFRO conference.

In the absence of clear understanding and presentation of forests’ contributions, they may not be properly considered and well represented in such policies. And thus, the lack of sufficiently solid knowledge and information may become the limiting factors for converting forests’ political relevance into concrete policies and actions, he said. This is a serious risk with far-reaching implications for forests’ role in sustainable development and for forests and forestry themselves.

In addition to FAO’s efforts, important work is also being done under the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), which brings together 14 international organizations with substantive mandates on forests, Mitsugi noted.

Among CPF members are global policy and financial instruments, implementing agencies, scientific institutions, and three global research organizations —including IUFRO, which itself is a network of almost 700 organizations “representing an immense body of knowledge.” This is providing ample opportunities for collaboration between science, policy and practice, the Assistant Director-General said.  

With such organizations working together and using the UN Strategic Programme for Forests as the main implementation framework, it is possible to build on synergies and maximize inputs and impact, Mitsugi concluded.

He spoke during the session Science Meets Policy, which was moderated by Alexander Buck, IUFRO Executive Director. Keynote remarks were delivered by Göran Persson, Senior Advisor, Sveaskog and former Prime Minster of Sweden, and José Sarney Filho, Minister of Environment, Brasilia.


last updated:  Tuesday, September 19, 2017