Forests, Progress on SDGs Contribute to Recovery from Pandemic - IISD

Policy briefs from the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) explain how pre-pandemic progress on the SDGs may be reducing the impacts of COVID-19, and how forests can make a unique contribution to recovery.

 

The brief on ‘Achieving the SDGs through the COVID-19 response and recovery,’ released on 22 June 2020, reports that accelerating efforts to reach the SDGs will also better position countries to recover from COVID-19.

 

Moreover, progress on several SDGs that had been achieved before the pandemic can be seen mitigating its impacts. For example, the authors say, progress on SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation) has enabled more people to wash their hands regularly, an important strategy for containing the COVID-19 virus. Past progress on SDG 11 (sustainable cities and community) has reduced crowding and therefore virus exposure, and improved access to basic services. Past progress on SDG 3 has lessened pre-existing health conditions that can make COVID-19 cases more severe. Finally, progress on SDGs 8 (decent work and economic growth) and 9 (which includes internet access) have helped to mitigate the overall impacts of the pandemic.

 

Going forward, authors Shantanu Mukherjee and Astra Bonini suggest that the SDGs can serve as “preventive medicine against future shocks” as long as countries adopt more equitable and sustainable ways forward. These could include a just transition for workers to the green economy, elimination of fuel subsidies, and introduction of carbon taxes.

 

The brief also asserts that the world can move towards achieving the SDGs through “thoughtful and targeted” actions, including accelerating the universal provision of quality basic services, and protecting nature from further degradation.

 

DESA also issued a policy brief illuminating how forests can be “at the heart of a green recovery” from COVID-19. One aspect of this recovery is the role of healthy forests in reducing the risk of future pandemics, since habitat loss is associated with zoonotic infectious diseases. Forests also remove about one third of the world’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions each year, thus helping to mitigate climate change, which is another driver of emerging zoonotic diseases and other epidemic diseases.

 

The forestry sector is labor-intensive, job training requirements are low, the work requires minimal planning and procurement, and social distancing is possible when doing forestry work. The brief identifies several countries that are utilizing forestry for job creation and including it in economic stimulus packages.

 

Forests serve as “safety nets for the rural poor,” providing food, income and nutritional diversity for about 20% of the global population, especially women, children, landless farmers, and other vulnerable segments of society. In addition, many indigenous peoples are coping with the pandemic by retreating deeper into forests for food, fuel and shelter, and to protect themselves from the risk of COVID-19 infection. It is also noted that reliance on firewood is likely to grow during the COVID-19 crisis, as supply chains of other energy sources get disrupted.

 

Finally, forests are needed to ensure availability of clean water for frequent handwashing. Three quarters of the planet’s accessible freshwater comes from forested watersheds. Forests also affect rainfall patterns, filter water, reduce soil erosion, and provide most of the drinking water for over one-third of the world’s largest cities.

 

Find out more...

Go back

Partners News

ATIBT Flash News 02/04/2021

Read: Position of European Partners on SIGIF 2 in Cameroon; Only few days left to register for the webinars "The Role of Forest Certification in the EUTR"; ATIBT technical data sheet : quality of plantation species for timber use; "Choosing tropical woods to fight climate change" says Timber Trade Federation...

Forest Watch The latest forest news April 2021: Discarding a decade of effort developing FLEGT licenses or ignoring key land rights in EC proposals to fight deforestation won't keep forests standing

Read: FLEGT ‘Fitness Check’: Abandoning FLEGT licenses would harm forest governance and the legal timber trade; EU Law on deforestation: Key land rights risk being ignored in DG Environment’s proposal; Could the palm oil arrangement between Indonesia and Switzerland offer lessons for EU and Indonesia free trade agreement negotiations?

Governments Discussing Declaration on Recovering Better in Decade of Action for SDGs - IISD

The co-facilitators for the negotiated outcome of the 2021 UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development have issued an outline for consideration. The proposed structure includes sections on: the impact of COVID-19 on the 2030 Agenda; progress towards the SDGs under review in 2021; and accelerated actions to achieve the SDGs.

The German CBFP Facilitation and COMIFAC are preparing for the 2021 Climate and Biodiversity Conferences of the Parties

From 9 to 13 March the COMIFAC Working Group meetings of the Central African Climate and Biodiversity Negotiators took place in Douala, Cameroon. These two meetings were held at the same time and place, with financial support provided by the German cooperation.

Designing Fiscal Instruments for Sustainable Forests - World Bank Group

This publication adds to ongoing work by the World Bank Group on how to better design and incorporate fiscal policy within the climate and sustainable development policy mix. The publication shows how various fiscal reforms can positively influence forest conservation while freeing up resources that can be used for national development.

Protect faster, Restore stronger.

Environmental issues affect us all. As is it, the planet is moving towards a global warming of 3°C by 2100. This is not the future we want. Forests, our first carbon sink within submerged land, are however in critical danger, with the possible savannahisation of the Amazon and tropical forests that could eventually turn into proper CO2 emitters. Faced with these projections, that involve unimaginable socio-economic consequences, our absolute priority can be summed up in a single word: reduction. Reducing our carbon footprint. Reducing deforestation. Reducing the degradation of forests. Reducing them increasingly and continuously.

How fiscal policy can help save forests - worldbank

The world is facing unprecedented economic and environmental challenges. While climate change increasingly poses risks to macroeconomic and fiscal stability, deforestation and forest degradation impair the ability of forests to act as carbon sinks and reduce the resiliency of local communities to climate damages. The loss and decay of forests also threaten global biodiversity, the provision of ecosystem services, and other core ecological functions that economies worldwide rely on.

How can NDCs contribute to forest governance & resilient local communities? - Fern

Fern’s report Beyond commitments: How can Nationally Determined Contributions contribute to forest governance and resilient local communities? looks at progress, challenges, and opportunities in six African countries: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Liberia, and Republic of the Congo.  

Nature-based recovery – essential for people and planet - UICN

The undeniable connection between nature, human health, and economic well-being has become more evident than ever during this time of crisis. Resilience is in our nature: IUCN and its Members are working to ensure a nature-based recovery that can deliver sustainable solutions, providing a foundation for a healthier relationship between humanity and the planet.

Renewables in Cities 2021 Global Status Report –UNEP

REN21’s Renewables in Cities Global Status Report (REC) series provides an overview of the status, trends and developments of renewable energy in cities, using the most up-to-date information and data available. The REC’s neutral, fact-based approach documents in detail the annual developments in policies, markets, investments and citizen action, with a particular focus on renewables in public, residential and commercial buildings as well as public and private urban transport. This report aims to inform decision makers and to create an active exchange of views and information around urban renewable energy.

UK-Norway Collaborative Initiative Seeks to Boost Climate Finance – IISD

The UK and Norway launched an initiative on sustainable finance that will serve as a platform for British and Norwegian financial institutions to share knowledge and best practices focused on actionable climate solutions in the financial sector and explore the regulatory frameworks and investment decisions that would be necessary to achieve a zero-emissions economy.

SDG 6 Acceleration Efforts Underway as Data Shows Targets Off Track - IISD

UN-Water convened a three-day event to discuss accelerating progress towards water and sanitation for all by 2030, and a report that indicates ambitions for 2030 remain off-track. Participants were briefed on the SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework, upcoming high-level events on water, and the preparatory process for the 2023 UN conference for the midterm review of the Water Action Decade.

Forest restoration: why offsetting could derail the path to recovery and well-being

This Sunday, 21 March, is the United Nations International Day of Forests (IDF), intended to celebrate and raise global awareness of the importance of forests. The theme is "Forest restoration: a path to recovery and well-being", a cause that Fern championed in our recent report looking at how rights-based forest restoration can empower communities, recover biodiversity, and tackle the climate crisis. It also explained that forest restoration must never be used to greenwash other sectors' lack of action towards climate objectives.

A ‘vaccine’ for tropical forests? - GCF

Elon Musk tweeted earlier this year that he would be "donating $100 million towards a prize for best carbon capture technology”. Out of 600 thousand likes and retweets, twenty thousand corresponded to a brilliant solution: “A tree”. The Tesla boss responded that trees were, indeed, part of the solution, but that we may require something that is “ultra-large-scale industrial in 10 to 20 years”. The sense of acting ‘urgently’ and at ‘scale’ are clearly central to the concepts of innovations announced in his offer.

Pastoralism and Conflict: Tools for Prevention and Response in the Sudano-Sahel

The findings and recommendations in this Toolkit were identified based on a meta-review of program evaluations and scholarly research in French and English, supplemented by a series of key informant interviews with program implementers. The Toolkit was validated through review by an Advisory Council of external civil society practitioners and researchers as well as practitioners from Search for Common Ground’s field offices across the Sudano-Sahel (Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Nigeria, Niger, South Sudan, Sudan).

Not Too Late to Undo Forest Damage, Secretary-General Says, in Message for International Day, while Warning ‘We Risk a Point of No Return - UN

Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for the International Day of Forests, observed on 21 March: Humanity’s well-being is inextricably linked to the health of our planet.  Forests play a crucial role.

Monthly Newsletter, February 2021, Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park

February saw the 13th session of our Advisory Board meeting, held in Brazzaville, where our workplan and budget for 2021 were finalised and approved. This year will see a whole host of developments from the park - from new construction, including schools, markets and clean-water pumps, to new projects, such as the Makao community pharmacy, due to be launched in March 2021. We here at the park look forward to getting stuck into these challenges.


28 Green Climate Fund Board meeting approves 15 new projects, USD 1.2 billion for climate action: The Congo Basin named among the beneficiaries which include the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of Congo, and the Central African Republic

The following projects are relevant to the Congo Basin: (1)USD 29 million for PREFOREST CONGO - Project aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from forests in five departments in the Republic of Congo with the FAO (FP159) – (2) USD 280 million for Sustainable Renewables Risk Mitigation Initiative (SRMI) Facility with World Bank in Botswana, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Mali, Namibia, Uzbekistan (FP163) – (3) - USD 82.8 million for The Africa Integrated Climate Risk Management Programme: Building resilience of smallholder farmers to climate change impacts in 7 Sahelian Countries of the Great Green Wall (GGW) with IFAD in Burkina Faso, Chad, Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal (FP162).

TRIDOM is a forested area that spans Cameroon, the Republic of Congo and Gabon. It contains

large numbers of elephants, chimpanzees and gorillas, as well as numerous other species and habitats. The area covers some 178,000 square kilometres, 97 percent of which is forest, making it a large and productive carbon sink. Illegal logging, large-scale mining, poaching, and forest conversion for commodity crops has made the area vulnerable and is threatening its ecosystem. A comprehensive effort is underway to combat wildlife crime, designate protected areas and institute sustainable forest management. The World Bank Carbon Fund has earmarked $280 million in climate finance to reduce forest emissions in the area.