Forests cover 31 percent of our planet’s land area and are a home to around 80 percent of all terrestrial species, including animals, plants and insects. They are key to everything that sustains our life on this planet: they supply water, provide livelihoods, mitigate climate change, and are essential for sustainable food production. Forest ecosystems are a critical component of the world’s biodiversity, with a multitude and variety of trees, plants, animals and microorganisms inhabiting forest landscapes.
But life on land as we know it is under attack: biodiversity is declining faster than at any point in human history with over 1 million plants and animals now facing extinction, according to the recent report published by the Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).
Although there are some recent positive global trends in protecting terrestrial ecosystems and biodiversity – notably in terms of slower forest loss, more key biodiversity areas under protection, and greater availability of financial means for biodiversity protection, deforestation remains a critical problem globally, as do land degradation and the destruction of species’ natural habitats. The United Nations have the capacity and mandate to tackle biodiversity and ecosystem loss, but the on-going and future action requires closer cooperation and better coordination among UN entities and partner organizations to begin with. It is imperative to strengthen our joint delivery to ensure we meet the targets of SDG 15 so as not to lose the momentum in the coming Decade of Action.
To this end, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) hosted an “SDG 15 Day”, featuring a roundtable moderated by member State representatives where relevant UN agencies and partner organizations will discuss the progress on achieving forest-related targets of SDG15 in the UNECE region, with a particular focus on 2020 as the ‘super year’ of nature. Speakers discussed innovative scalable solutions to climate change through afforestation and ecosystem restoration; and shared concrete proposals on how to step up joint delivery in light of financial and other challenges associated with the post COVID-19 recovery.
For the full programme click here.
The recording of the meeting can be found here.
The recorded statement from Mr. Alexander Trepelkov, Officer in Charge, United Nations Forum on Forests can be accessed here, and the statement from Mr. Paul Trianosky, Chief Conservation Officer, Sustainable Forestry Initiative, can be seen here.
The presentation used during the meeting is here.