FAO, ITTO Meetings Call for Collaboration, Technology to Achieve Forest-Related SDGs in Asia-Pacific
UN Photo/Eva Fendiaspara
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The 27th meeting of the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission convened by FAO stressed that competing interests in the forestry sector must collaborate with a wider range of stakeholders to help restore the region’s forests and meet the SDGs.

The Tokyo International Conference on the Forest Governance Initiative addressed the need to tackle illegal logging in the tropics with satellite technologies and improved governance.

27 October 2017: A pair of forestry meetings recently convened in the Asia-Pacific region. The 27th meeting of the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission (APFC 27), organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), focused on collaboration in the forestry sector to realize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The ‘Tokyo International Conference on the Forest Governance Initiative: Improving Forest Governance Using Forest Early Warning Systems and Satellite Technologies,’ convened by the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), addressed the need to tackle illegal logging in the tropics with satellite technologies and improved governance.

APFC 27, which met from 23-27 October 2017, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, stressed that competing interests in the forestry sector must collaborate with a wider range of stakeholders to help restore the region’s forests, and to support countries efforts to meet the SDGs. The meeting emphasized that due to inadequate application of landscape management and approaches, two forest-related Goals, SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation) and SDG 15 (life on land), may not be realized by their 2030 deadline.

During opening remarks to delegates, Hiroto Mitsugi, FAO, underscored that improved natural resource management will require adopting landscape approaches that consider the cultural linkages people have with their forests and landscapes. Participants also emphasized that conflict, technological change, social disparities, climate change and natural disasters further intensify these challenges and are hindering progress in meeting the Goals in the region. Attendees emphasized that new management approaches must be implemented.

The Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration estimates that two billion hectares of deforested and degraded land are available for restoration, with at least 400 million hectares located in Asia-Pacific. While some countries have increased their forest cover in recent years, most notably in China, other countries in South and Southeast Asia are losing forest cover. [FAO Press Release] [Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission Meeting Website]

Forests are as important as food for ensuring livelihoods, human security and planetary well-being.

During the Forest Governance Initiative conference, which convened from 24-26 October 2017, in Tokyo, Japan, ITTO Executive Director Gerhard Dieterle highlighted that forests are as important as food for ensuring livelihoods, human security and planetary well-being. He noted the role of productive forests helping to achieve the SDGs, and pointed out that sustainable, innovative and efficient ways to provide wood and services require adequate forest governance and monitoring. He said afforestation, reforestation, restoration, enrichment planting and the substitution of other materials with wood can positively impact on the economies of timber-producing countries while also helping to mitigate climate change.

In addition, participants discussed: harnessing the role of productive forests, and incentivizing investments in them for timber, pulp and energy; restoring degraded multi-purpose landscapes; promoting green supply chains in timber markets; and using satellite technologies to enable year-round forest cover monitoring. As an example, they cited JJ-FAST (the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Forest Early Warning System in the Tropics). JJ-FAST detects deforestation and illegal logging in Brazil and has helped reduce deforestation.

The Forest Governance Initiative, promoted by JICA and JAXA, encourages better use of satellite technology and multi-stakeholder partnerships to contribute to global tropical forest and biodiversity conservation, and climate change mitigation. [ITTO Press Release] [ITTO Workshop Website] [IISD SDG Knowledge Hub Forest Update]


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