Finding cross-sectoral solutions to halt deforestation, expand forests and feed the world

16 February 2018, Rome — Specialists and stakeholders from across sectors and around the globe will seek new ways to collectively deal with the challenge of halting deforestation and increasing forest areas worldwide when they gather at an international conference next week at FAO headquarters.

More than 300 representatives of governments, NGOs, the private sector, civil society, and organizations representing indigenous people, local communities, youth and producers will bring their perspectives to the three-day event “Working across Sectors to Halt Deforestation and Increase Forest Area – from Aspiration to Action”.

Organized by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), the conference which opens on Tuesday will consider the challenge of halting deforestation from a variety of approaches, from integrated landscape management and the role of agricultural commodities and supply chains to innovative technologies and financial instruments.

“Halting and reversing deforestation globally presents an enormous challenge and will require political will and concerted action across sectors”, said Eva Müller, Director of FAO’s Forestry Policy and Resources Division. “Governments at all levels must work closely with indigenous peoples, community representatives, private-sector associations and international organizations.

Despite humanity’s dependence on forests and a growing demand for the multitude of services and goods those forests provide, the earth’s forested area continues to shrink — albeit, at a slower pace in more recent years. Global rates of deforestation have decreased, from a net annual forest area loss of 7.3 million ha in 2000 to 3.3 million ha in 2015. The decrease has not been even across regions with deforestation rates in some regions, especially Africa and Latin America, remaining disproportionately high.

At the same time, rapid population growth is pushing up demand for food and agricultural production — the single greatest driver of deforestation globally. As a result, feeding the world’s population — projected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050 — is a major concern. The conference is therefore expected to give particular attention to the challenges posed by agricultural production.

Preserving forest areas, and the multiple goods and services they provide, dovetails with efforts to achieve many of the SDGs — particularly, eradicating hunger and poverty, preserving health and wellbeing, and fighting climate change. The close connection between forests and the SDGs is underscored by SDG 15, which sets the specific target of halting deforestation by 2020 and urges sustainable forest management.

Conference outcomes will contribute to decision-making by major UN bodies, including the 13th session of UN Forum on Forests (UNFF13) in May 2018 and the UN High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF 2018).



last updated:  Monday, February 19, 2018