FAO Director-General calls for transformational change in the way we manage our forests and food systems that depend on them – FAO

5 October 2020, Rome - Transformational change is needed in the way we manage our forests and their biodiversity, produce and consume our foods and interact with nature, if we want to build back better after the COVID-19 pandemic and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. This was the key message of a speech delivered today by FAO Director-General QU Dongyu at the 25th session of the Committee on Forestry (COFO).

 

This year's session of COFO is being convened virtually from 5 to 9 October 2020 under the theme "Forests and the SDG Decade of Action: solutions for climate change, biodiversity and people".

 

In his opening remarks, the Director-General noted that the pandemic has shown that forests can serve as a safety net for human beings - particularly the poor and vulnerable - in times of crisis, offering a huge potential in "building back better".

 

Given that deforestation and forest degradation continue to take place at alarming rates largely due to agricultural expansion, we need to find ways to increase agricultural production and improve food security without reducing forest areas, Qu said calling for a fundamental change of mindset and remodeling our business approaches.

 

"Halting deforestation and scaling up reforestation, must be a central building block to the sustainable transformation of food systems", the FAO chief stressed.

 

In his remarks, Qu urged to scale-up action to unlock the full potential of forests and food diversity and increase investment in sustainable forest sector as these actions are critical to achieving such global goals as eradication of hunger and poverty, climate change adaptation and mitigation as well as biodiversity conservation.

 

He also made the link to the Green Cities Initiative that FAO launched last month, which aims to transform agri-food systems, end hunger and improve nutrition in cities. He noted that cities are very essential in building back better, as "cities have the capacity, technologies, investment, information and purchasing power", adding that they can be the "promoter and engine of transformation".

 

This year's session of COFO is chaired by Shin Wonsup, Professor from Chungbuk National University, Cheongiu, Republic of Korea, and former Minister of Korea Forest Service. The opening session saw the participation of Inger Andersen, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme, and Virginijus Sinkevičius, EU Commissioner for Environment Oceans and Fisheries, among others.

 

"COVID-19 has taught us that we need to reinforce for urgent action," Inger Andersen said, noting that a green recovery from the pandemic must promote healthy and restored forests following the transitions laid out in the Convention for Biological Diversity with conserving intact ecosystems, restoring ecosystems and reversing degradation being the priorities. "But to make these transitions happen we need to transform our food systems, which is the largest deforestation cause and which is the largest biodiversity loss cause," she added.

 

For his part, the EU Commissioner said: "Forests and trees contribute to all four pillars of food security: availability, access, utilisation and stability. If we fail to achieve the SDG 15, in particular managing forests sustainably, and halting and reversing biodiversity loss, we will also fail to deliver on achieving a world free from hunger and more generally on the 2030 Agenda".

 

Read more...

 

Go back

Partners News

CBFP Study Package - Publications available for download

The German CBFP Facilitation has commissioned a package of 6 thematic studies on pertinent issues in Congo Basin forest politics (namely REDD+ in the Congo Basin, Land Use Planning, Transhumance, Ecotourism, Sustainable value chains, China´s role in Central African forestry) as well as an overarching synthesis study. Each study consists of a full study report as well as a short policy brief. Please download the CBFP Study Package…

Protecting the forests of the Congo Basin: Synthesis report of studies conducted during the German Facilitation of the CBFP in 2021

...In addition to this effort at the global policy level, the facilitation commissioned six thematic studies related to specific opportunities and challenges for the forests of the Congo Basin and the people who depend directly on the products, biodiversity and ecosystem services the forests provide. The six studies and a policy brief for each study were prepared between December 2020 and August 2021. They focus on the following topics...

Advancing Sustainability in China´s Engagement in the Congo Basin - CBFP

Over the last 10 to 15 years, China has increasingly taken note of the potential environmental and forest impacts of its overseas trade, investment and other economic activities. However, timber trade between China and Africa has so far not met the requirements of international legality and sustainability standards. Furthermore, China is highly involved in investment and construction of infrastructure projects that may have caused forest conversion due to a lack of comprehensive, effective management measures and a lack of environmental impact analyses.

Tourism in the Congo Basin Rainforests: How to accelerate tourism and make it regionally sustainable- CBFP

This study was performed with the intent of understanding the challenges to developing eco-tourism in the Congo Basin, and of identifying actions and recommendations to overcome these challenges. A background study of the existing literature, research articles, reports and national strategies (where available) was performed to ascertain the political strategies and academic understanding of ecotourism in the region.

The Dynamics and Impacts of Transhumance and Neo-Pastoralism on Biodiversity, Local Communities and Security: Congo Basin - CBFP

This study was carried out to shed light on issues related to this activity and provide basic knowledge of various aspects relating to livestock rearing, neo-pastoralism and unsustainable transhumance. The study area covers the Sudano-Sahelian region of Africa – specifically, the area stretching from the northern fringes of the Congo Basin (Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic) and the south-eastern part of the southern Lake Chad Basin, namely the Sudano-Guinean savanna mosaics. The methodology adopted was to collect data from various sources, including from key stake-holders and literature review.

Promoting sustainable value chains in the Congo Basin: An analysis and set of recommendations based on three case studies in producing and importing countries – CBFP Study

The first case study is dedicated to the spectacular policy announcement by Gabon that it would make FSC timber certification mandatory from 2022 onwards for all concessionaires willing to keep operating in the country. Such certification is relatively advanced in Gabon and this unprecedented policy stands as an intriguing and promising example in the region. The second case study relates to a prominent approach that has emerged and grown over the last decade, namely corporate zero-deforestation commitments. This is complementary to the first case study as it refers to a process initiated by the private sector itself, and we apply it to the oil palm sector in Cameroon. For the third case study, we move to the importation side of things with the most advanced policy effort to take action in consuming countries, namely the French National Strategy against Imported Deforestation (SNDI).

Current State, Barriers and Perspectives for REDD+ in the Congo Basin - CBFP

The report draws on a thorough review of the available literature. It is complemented by 21 semi-structured anonymous interviews with key REDD+ experts. The authors conducted the interviews between November 2020 and February 2021. Interview partners include represent-atives of Congo Basin countries, donor states, academia, NGOs and independent technical experts. Instead of going to lengths in elucidating the entire range of options for reducing deforestation and forest degradation, the study report lists concrete courses of action which might be pursued in the future.

Full NDC Synthesis Report: Some Progress, but Still a Big Concern – UNFCCC

UN Climate Change News, 17 September 2021 – UN Climate Change today published a synthesis of climate action plans as communicated in countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). The NDC Synthesis report indicates that while there is a clear trend that greenhouse gas emissions are being reduced over time, nations must urgently redouble their climate efforts if they are to prevent global temperature increases beyond the Paris Agreement’s goal of well below 2C – ideally 1.5C – by the end of the century.

World Religious Leaders and Scientists Make pre-COP26 Appeal – UNFCCC

UN Climate Change News, 5 October 2021 – Faith leaders representing the world’s major religions yesterday joined scientists at the Vatican to call on the international community to raise their ambition and step up their climate action ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in November in Glasgow. Almost 40 faith leaders signed a joint Appeal, which was presented by Pope Francis to COP26 President-Designate, the Rt Hon Alok Sharma, and the Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Luigi Di Maio.

SEI Report Assesses Transboundary Climate Risks in Commodity Flows - IISD

The Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) has published a report providing a global assessment of transboundary climate risks in agricultural commodity flows. Its authors explain that the material risk posed to food security, particularly in low-income, import-dependent countries, is such that adaptation to transboundary climate risk becomes a matter of public policy.

Responding to Crises Starts Years in Advance: 2021 Goalkeepers Report - IISD

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has released its annual Goalkeepers Report, which tracks progress on 18 SDG indicators and reflects on trends influencing the Goals. In the introduction to the 2021 Goalkeepers report, titled ‘Innovation and Inequity,’ Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates write that the past year has shown that “progress is possible but not inevitable. The effort we put in matters a great deal.” The report aims to highlight learnings from the successes and failures of the pandemic so far.

Poor charcoal production techniques fuel tree cutting in Kenya – CIFOR

A new study conducted by scientists from the Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF), and partner organizations shows that charcoal producers have little or no support to engage in the replanting of trees, which could lead to a lower rate of deforestation in the already tree-scarce areas where most charcoal is produced.

Vienna Convention, Montreal Protocol Offer Lessons for Climate Agreements -IISD

The latest ‘Still Only One Earth’ policy brief from IISD looks back at when “the world was struck with fear” in 1985 after scientists discovered a massive hole in the ozone that forms a protective layer over the Earth. The brief reviews the steps taken to heal the ozone layer through two intergovernmental agreements – the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer – and what else must be done. It also highlights lessons for addressing climate change.

Appeal made for international commitment to protecting the Congo Basin ecosystems and their vicinity at the IUCN World Conservation Congress

Jointly organized by COMIFAC, CBFP, GIZ, CAFI and IUCN, as part of the Congo Basin Special Day at the World Conservation Congress, a high-level session on the Congo Basin, was held from 2:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m on 05/09/2021., at the SPACE CENTER, Exhibition HALL 3.

Geopolitics of the World’s Forests: Strategies for Tackling Deforestation – IFRI

Deforestation continues at a worrying pace worldwide, except in temperate and boreal countries. It is caused by the race for land, underpinned by population growth and rising global demand for “deforestation-prone” products. Moreover, with climate change, mega-fires are now posing unprecedented threats to forests.

A second high-level session on the protection of the Congo Basin: Representatives of bilateral donor countries come together to help protect forests and wetlands in the green heart of Africa at the World Nature Congress

Jointly organized by COMIFAC, the CBFP, GIZ, CAFI and the IUCN, as part of the Congo Basin Special Day at the World Conservation Congress, a second high-level session on the preservation of the Congo Basin’s ecosystems took place on 05/09/2021 at 6:00 p.m. local time at the PAVILLON NATURE BASE SOLUTION, Exhibition HALL 3.

IUCN World Conservation Congress 2020 – IISD Report of main proceedings for 7 September 2021

Following four busy and inspirational days of work, the Forum concluded its deliberations. During another bustling day, participants attended thematic sessions and high-level dialogues during the morning. In the afternoon, seven thematic plenaries outlined the main take-home messages from the Forum’s discussions, followed by the official Forum closing plenary.

Fondation TNS Annual report 2020

While 2019 saw a general rise in all types of financial assets, 2020 turned out to be a tumultuous year. The coronavirus pandemic triggered sharp falls in February- March, followed by a sharp rebound from the end of March to the end of August, thanks to unprecedented monetary and fiscal support from the world’s major central banks and governments. The second wave of Covid-19 permitted further corrections in September and October, before a year-end upturn linked to excellent news on the vaccine front.

The Congo Basin’s voice rings out at the IUCN World Conservation Congress

Through a series of important activities organized at the IUCN World Conservation Congress, COMIFAC, its member countries and partners called on the international community to take coordinated steps to ensure adequate financial flows for the preservation of the Congo Basin’s ecosystems and peatlands as a cost-effective nature-based solution.

Visitors and key actors flock to “COMIFAC - CONGO BASIN INITIATIVES” Booth at IUCN Word Congress

Marseille, France, 5 September 2021 (COMIFAC). On the 3rd day of the Congress, the Congo Basin Booth drew over a hundred visitors, including members of governments and dignitaries from the Congo Basin, bilateral donor countries, multilateral financing mechanisms, as well as the general public.