Sustainable natural resource management must be a people-focused process

©FAO/Roberto Cenciarelli20 February 2018, Rome — Recognizing the capacities of local rural communities and heeding their specific needs must be the starting point for the sustainable management of natural resources, including forestry, a panel session heard on Tuesday, during a major international conference on halting deforestation and increasing forest cover.

 ‘People-centered approaches to integrated landscape management’ provided a platform for experts and community representatives with experience in the field to discuss how the long-term sustainability and protection of natural resources, particularly forests, can be assured. Although the benefits of such an approach – better livelihoods, enhanced resilience of social and ecological systems, and improved adaptation to the impacts of climate change – are increasingly acknowledged, transforming that understanding into scaled-up strategies requires coherent interaction at all levels and across several sectors.

The session, part of the three-day international conference “Working across Sectors to Halt Deforestation and Increase Forest Area – from Aspiration to Action,” included representatives of indigenous people, local forest communities and youth, and forest and farm producer groups, who recounted their experiences in applying integrated landscape approaches and the social, economic and environmental challenges they faced. Such approaches can bring significant rewards for local people, panelists noted, but success hinges on ensuring that their communities are involved from the outset in the design and implementation of policies and action.

Organized by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) and hosted by FAO at its headquarters, the Rome conference has brought together practitioners and experts from across sectors to present a broad range of perspectives and possible solutions aimed at halting deforestation and increasing forest cover. This has included, in addition to integrated landscape management, discussions on the role of agricultural commodities and supply chains, innovative technologies and financial instruments.

Preserving and increasing forest areas, and the many goods and services they provide, will generate multiple benefits in the implementation of many of the SDGs, particularly eradicating hunger and poverty, preserving health and wellbeing, and addressing climate change. Forests feature significantly in SDG 15 – Life on Land – where, through sustainable forest management, their role is pivotal in meeting target SDG 15.2 of halting deforestation by 2020.

Visit the website of the ‘’Working across Sectors to Halt Deforestation and Increase Forest Area – from Aspiration to Action’’ international conference, 20 to 22 February 2018, for more information and to follow the main proceedings via live webcast.

last updated:  Tuesday, February 20, 2018