SOFO 2018 Evinces Contributions of Forests to SDGs, Livelihoods
UN Photo/Eva Fendiaspara
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FAO’s flagship report, 'State of the World’s Forests 2018,' documents the role of the world’s forests in achieving the SDGs.

The report illustrates the linkages between sustainable forest management and progress on biodiversity conservation (SDG 15), tackling climate change (SDG 13), improving urban habitats (SDG 11), providing safe drinking water (SDG 6), supporting food security (SDG 2), reducing inequalities (SDG 10) and ending poverty (SDG 1).

6 July 2018: Stopping deforestation, managing forests sustainably, restoring degraded forests, and increasing tree cover worldwide is critical to avoid “damaging consequences for the planet and its people,” according to the ‘State of the World’s Forests (SOFO) 2018.’ The report, published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), underscores the importance of forests in supporting human livelihoods and achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The report provides “more exact confirmation” that healthy, productive forests are essential to sustainable agriculture.

SOFO 2018 analyzes the importance of forests and trees in conserving biodiversity (SDG 15), tackling climate change (SDG 13), improving urban habitats (SDG 11), providing safe drinking water (SDG 6), supporting food security (SDG 2), reducing inequalities (SDG 10) and ending poverty (SDG 1), among other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva explained that SOFO 2018 provides “greater evidence on how forests are critical to livelihoods of the world’s poorest,” including a better understanding of the trade-offs and “more exact confirmation” that healthy, productive forests are essential to sustainable agriculture.

SDG 15 (life on land) includes several indicators that focus on forests. The report finds positive change globally on three indicators: proportion of forest area located in legally established protected areas; proportion of forest area under long-term forest management plans; and forest area under independently verified forest management certification schemes. The report shows no/small change globally on two indicators: forest area net change rate; and aboveground stock in forest. The report illustrates regional variation in all five indicators, with Eastern and Western Asia and Australia and New Zealand showing positive progress across all five SDG indicators.

The report further underscores the significant income generated from non-wood forest products (NWFPs), stressing that the real figure is likely much higher than global estimates of US$88 billion. For example, one in five people globally depend on NWFPs for food, nutritional diversity and income. In Europe, one in four people collects food, such as fruit and berries, directly from forests. In Uganda, the non-cash value of forest products is up to two to four times higher for local people than the cash value.

On the governance of forests, the report further documents the importance of clear legal frameworks on forest tenure rights, and commends growing trends in local governance, with national governments devolving forestry rights to local and community-based tenure. SOFO 2018 underscores the importance of strengthened legal frameworks in securing the rights of local communities and smallholders to access forests and trees, contributing to ending poverty and achieving sustainability.

SOFO 2018 highlights several positive trends, such as increasing awareness on forest preservation and increasing sustainable forest practices. For example, 56% of paper is recycled today, compared to less than 25% in 1970. The report also showcases a global increase in forest areas managed for soil and water conservation over the past 25 years. Populations in Vienna, Austria; Bogota, Columbia; Johannesburg, South Africa; and Tokyo, Japan rely on protected forests for drinking water, and in the US, 180 million people rely on forests for their drinking water.

The report will be presented and discussed at the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), which is taking place in New York, US, from 9-18 July 2018. SDG 15 is one of the goals to be discussed during the HLPF’s “in-depth review.” [FAO Press Release] [UN Press Release] [Publication: 2018 The State of the World’s Forests]


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