FAO Explores Role of Agroforestry and Forest Monitoring in Achieving SDGs
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
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A High-Level Conference convened by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) explored the role of agroforestry in promoting more efficient land-use systems as well as climate and sustainable development benefits.

In a separate event, more than 100 experts and representatives from the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) reviewed indicators for assessing the achievement of forestry targets within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other global processes.

To support source countries' tracing of timber from forest to consumer, to help curb illegal logging and trade, FAO launched the publication, ‘Traceability: A management tool for enterprises and governments'.

5 December 2016: A High-Level Conference convened by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) explored the role of agroforestry in promoting more efficient land-use systems and generating multiple benefits, ranging from nutritious food and renewable energy to clean water and enhanced biodiversity. A second event reviewed indicators for assessing the achievement of forestry targets within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), while a FAO publication discusses the use of timber traceability systems to help source countries curb illegal logging and access legal markets.

The High-Level Conference, which explored how agriculture could contribute to both climate adaptation and mitigation, was organized as part of a series of events hosted by FAO in follow up to the Marrakech Climate Change Conference. The event took place in Rome, Italy, on 28 November 2016 and was co-organized by FAO, Italy’s Permanent Representation to the Rome-based UN agencies and the Centro per un Futuro Sostenibile. Expert presentations and panel discussions covered diverse subjects, ranging from zero-emissions farming models to landscape approaches for assessing and modifying carbon cycles.

In an opening statement, FAO Deputy Director-General Helena Semedo called for better coordination of farm and non-farm natural resource management, noting that agroforestry’s mixed land-use approach exemplifies how the agricultural sector can contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. She pointed out that despite agriculture’s role as a major greenhouse gas emitter, only 2% of global climate finance in 2014 was directed to agriculture, including the forests, fisheries and livestock sub-sectors.

FAO Deputy Director-General Helena Semedo pointed out that despite agriculture’s role as a major greenhouse gas emitter, only 2% of global climate finance in 2014 was directed to agriculture, including the forests, fisheries and livestock sub-sectors.

In a separate event at FAO Headquarters, more than 100 experts and representatives from the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) reviewed indicators for assessing the achievement of forestry targets within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other global processes. The outcome of the meeting will be discussed at the next session of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) Working Group in January 2017 as a contribution to the emerging ‘Strategic Plan of the International Arrangement on Forests.’

In order to support source countries’ tracing of timber from forest to consumer, to help curb illegal logging and trade, FAO launched the publication, ‘Traceability: A management tool for enterprises and governments,’ on 23 November 2016 during the 16th Meeting of the Parties to the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) in Kigali, Rwanda.

The report presents examples of the advantages of traceability for governments, logging companies and community forests, with case studies from five African countries that have set up systems with support from FAO’s Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade FLEGT Programme. The publication is the first in a technical series building on the FAO FLEGT Programme’s experience in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

When applied to forestry, a traceability system individually locates trees to be felled and gives each one a unique identifier that could include painted numbers and plastic tags or bar codes, microchips and DNA checks. This identifier links the tree to its origin throughout the entire processing chain, including through storage and transport, and sometimes through to finished products.

The case studies highlight experiences in introducing different forms of traceability systems in Benin, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, Liberia and Gabon. The systems range from: a smartphone operated bar-code-based system to monitor teak plantations operated by the National Timber Office in Benin; a national traceability system in Liberia with the aim of opening a “green lane” to European markets; and the testing of specially adapted traceability systems to inform government decisions on a regulatory framework on traceability in community forests. [FAO Press Release on High-Level Event] [FAO Press Release on Forestry Indicators Meeting] [FAO Press Release on Timber Tracing Project] [Traceability: A management tool for enterprises and government]


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