Collaborative Partnership on Forests Conference Illuminates Cross-Sectoral Solutions to Deforestation
UN Photo/Eva Fendiaspara
story highlights

A CPF conference discussed the challenges of stopping and reversing deforestation in the context of global commitments and explored ways to accelerate progress.

The conference was organized around the themes of: approaches to managing landscapes in an integrated way under a changing climate; sustainable commodities and value chains; forest smart policies and governance; and innovative instruments to upscale progress: financing, technologies and research.

The meeting's messages will inform the UNFF 13 and the 2018 session of HLPF.

22 February 2018: A three-day conference organized by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) and hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) discussed the challenges of stopping and reversing deforestation in the context of global commitments and explored ways to accelerate progress. The meeting’s messages and proposals for action will be brought to the attention of the 13th session of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) convening in May, and the 2018 session of the High-level Political Forum (HLPF), which will meet in July under the theme, ‘Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies’ to review, among other goals, implementation of SDG 15 (Life on Land).

Held at the FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy, from 20-22 February 2018, the Conference titled, ‘Working across Sectors to Halt Deforestation and Increase Forest Area – from Aspiration to Action,’ brought together approximately 300 participants from governments, international organizations, the scientific community, private sector, civil society and farmer organizations. Participants addressed challenges and the way forward towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 15.2 on halting deforestation by 2020, and Target 1.1 of the UN Strategic Plan for Forests 2017-2030 (UNSPF), which calls for reversing the loss of forest cover and increasing forest areas by 3% worldwide by 2030.

Maintaining sufficient, productive, diverse, and healthy forests is crucial for achieving the SDGs, as well as climate and biodiversity targets.

The conference was organized around the following themes: approaches to managing landscapes in an integrated way under a changing climate; sustainable commodities and value chains; forest smart policies and governance; and innovative instruments to upscale progress: financing, technologies and research. Participants highlighted that maintaining sufficient, productive, diverse, and healthy forests is crucial for achieving the SDGs, as well as climate and biodiversity targets; noting that halting deforestation and achieving SDG 15.2 can only be achieved through political will, individual motivation and concerted collective action, adequate governance frameworks, and involvement of multiple actors.

Participants stressed the need for enhanced: awareness and knowledge on drivers of deforestation; understanding of the multiple functions of forests; and research to support the development of evidence-based policies. They identified a series of factors critical to reverse deforestation trends, including: corporate responsibility of agribusiness, supported by international trade instruments, and consumer education; capturing the value of forest ecosystem services through simple and direct systems of payments for ecosystem services; and promoting sustainable use of forest products across the value chain. They stressed that positive incentives are needed to scale up finance and investment on forests, as well as instruments to reduce the risk of private sector investment.

Acknowledging that agriculture remains the main driver of deforestation globally, the meeting discussed country experiences and good practices creating win-win situations between forestry and agriculture, stressing the need for their urgent upscale. The landscape approach and agroforestry and other diversified agricultural production systems were explored as ways to resolve land-use competition between forest and agriculture, while ensuring the livelihoods of small-scale farmers.

A session on innovative technologies for land-use monitoring showcased scientific and technological developments related to Earth observation, exploring innovations, collaborations and available tools, and highlighting the availability of bid data and the need for new approaches to deal with it.

The conference was preceded by a workshop for youth titled ‘Youth across Sectors to Halt Deforestation.’ The workshop, attended by 50 youth in Rome and hundreds more online, sought to improve participants’ capacity to address global environmental challenges. [IISD Reporting Services Coverage of the Meeting] [Conference Website] [FAO Opening Press Release] [FAO Closing Press Release] [FAO Press Release on Youth] [FAO Press Release on Panel] [FAO Press Release on Timber Legality] [UN News] [FAO Press Release on Technology] [FAO Press Release on Small Scale Producers]


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