The event illustrated the potential for synergies among SDGs that focus on sustainable land and resource use.
Speakers highlighted that forests can help prevent zoonotic diseases such as COVID-19 by ensuring the balance between pathogens and host species is restored.
During a virtual side event, held on the sidelines of the 2020 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), participants discussed the role of forests and forestry in accelerating transformative pathways to sustainable development. They also described approaches to transformative change for the forests-food-energy-climate nexus and their potential and limitations, emphasizing equity, gender, and governance.
The event illustrated the potential for synergies among SDGs that focus on sustainable land and resource use. It emphasized policy and regulatory environments and capacities that support and incentivize sustainable forest-related livelihoods and development.
The event was organized by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, and Natural Resources Institute Finland. It sought to build on work undertaken by IUFRO’s Special Project on World Forests, Society and Environment (WFSE), and the recent publication Sustainable Development Goals: Their Impacts on Forests and People .
Speakers highlighted that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the appreciation for forests and the recognition of the need to preserve natural habitats. Forest-based transformation pathways were discussed as a means to restore sustainable land use systems, freshwater use, ecosystem functions such as climate mitigation, and biodiversity restoration. Forests were also highlighted for their contributions to: preventing zoonotic diseases such as COVID-19 by ensuring the balance between pathogens and host species is restored; recognizing the contribution of indigenous peoples and local communities; forest conversion moratoria; and agroforestry.
Panelists also emphasized:
- COVID-19 has exposed gender inequalities in several areas including jobs, and caused a spike in gender violence;
- the importance of gender equality for sustainability and for enabling the forest sector to contribute to the SDGs; and
- pathways to build and strengthen synergies among SDGs related to sustainable production, reduced use of traditional wood fuels, and improved resource efficiency.
The event took place on 9 July 2020 in a virtual format due to the COVID-19 pandemic. [ENB Coverage of the Side Event]