UN: More sustainably managed forests would help meet energy needs of 1/3 of world population
March 21, New York – Expanding the area of sustainably managed forests, especially in developing countries, is essential to meet the energy needs of billions of people who still use wood fuel as their energy source, according to United Nations officials and forest experts at an event held today marking the International Day of Forests.
Today, more than 2 billion people, in rural and urban areas, still rely on wood fuel to meet their primary energy needs such as cooking and heating. Wood based energy accounts for 27 per cent of the total primary energy supply in Africa, 13 per cent in Latin America and the Caribbean and 5 percent in Asia and Oceania, according to FAO estimates.
Forests cover 30 per cent of the Earth’s land area, yet they continue to be under threat from unsustainable use, environmental degradation, rapid urbanization, population growth, and the impacts of climate change. Between 2010 and 2015, global forest area saw a net decrease of 3.3 million hectares per year.
“This is an area where we can make a real difference,” said Wu Hongbo, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs. “Sustainably managed forests are productive and resilient ecosystems. They provide people with livelihoods and renewable energy, along with timber, food, shelter, clean air, water and climate benefits. Promoting sustainable forest management can help us achieve the Sustainable Development Goals faster.”