|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
World Environment Day’s Focus on Biodiversity Critical in Spurring
Public Conservation Actions, Says Director of UN Forests Forum
The focus on biodiversity for tomorrow’s celebration of the 2010 World Environment Day can spur public action to sustain the world’s forests, says Jan McAlpine, Director of the United Nations Forum on Forests Secretariat. “The theme of this year’s World Environment Day,‘Many Species. One Planet. One Future,’ crystalized the approach that the world must take in sustainably managing the world’s forests.
More than 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihoods, according to World Bank estimates. Forests cover 31 per cent of the total global land area, or just over 4 billion hectares, according to 2010 data from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). At the same time close to 80 per cent of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity resides in forest habitats. The health of our forests, the health of our environment, and human well-being are thus closely linked.
Ms. McAlpine said that international events like World Environment Day, the International Year of Biodiversity 2010, and the International Year of Forests 2011 provide a unique global platform to celebrate actions worldwide and their vital role as agents for change in realizing the vision of a greener, more equitable, sustainable future. “Global recognition of the role of forests is growing,” she said. “There is greater awareness of the benefits forests provide in stabilizing climate change, protecting biodiversity and in the livelihoods of billions.”
She went on to say that forests were an integral part of human life. “It is our responsibility to take action for forests, for people, and for all forest-dependant species. In this regard, I would like to commend the Convention on Biological Diversity and ConventiontoCombatDesertification, and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for their valuable work in working together as one [United Nations] to help accomplish the objective of this year's World Environment Day.”
About the United Nations Forum on Forests
The Forum on Forests was established in 2000 with the main objective of promoting the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests, and strengthening long-term political commitment to that end. The Forum is the only functional commission of the Economic and Social Council with universal membership of all 192 Member States of the United Nations. In 2007, the Forum adopted the landmark Non-Legally Binding Agreement on All Types of Forests, which provides a platform for international cooperation and national action to reduce deforestation, prevent forest degradation, promote sustainable livelihoods and reduce poverty for all forest-dependent peoples. Substantive support for the Forum’s deliberations is provided by its Secretariat, which also serves as the United Nations focal point on all forest policy issues. The Forum Secretariat has been mandated by the General Assembly as the focal point for implementation of the International Year of Forests, 2011 (IYF 2011), in collaboration with Governments, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, and other forest-relevant organizations around the world. The Forum’s Secretariat is located in United Nations Headquarters in New York.
For more information, please contact Dan Shepard, United Nations Department of Public Information, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; or Mita Sen, United Nations Forum on Forests Secretariat, e-mail: email@example.com.
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