Signing of ‘historic’ agreement paving way for Turkey to host Tenth UN Forum on Forests

Permanent Representative of Turkey to the United Nations Ambassador Yasar Halit Çevik and DESA's Under-Secretary-General Wu Hongbo at the signing of the host country agreement between the United Nations and Turkey

For the first time, Turkey will host a multilateral meeting on forests, with 193 Member States participating, in Istanbul from 8-19 April following the signing on 24 January of an agreement between Turkish Government and United Nations representatives.

As host country, Turkey will provide resources for holding the upcoming tenth session of the United Nations Forum on Forests and for the participation of delegations from developing countries. Signing the agreement were Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, and Yasar Halit Çevik, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the United Nations.

Mr. Wu described Turkey’s support for the Forum as “generous”, saying that the Government’s offer to host the Forum represented its “strong political commitment to international cooperation”. The upcoming session of the Forum was very important to the ongoing discussions on the post-2015 United Nations development agenda, he noted.

Mr. Çevik said that his country felt “honoured to host the tenth Forum in Istanbul”, pointing out that it would be the first time that it had held a session outside United Nations Headquarters. “I would like to reiterate once again Turkey’s commitment to sustainable forest management and raising awareness on the importance of forests in economic life and poverty eradication,” he added.

The United Nations Forum on Forests is the only intergovernmental body that provides a global platform for policy development and cooperation on forests. The main theme of the April session — “Forests and economic development” — will advance actions for mobilizing finance for forests. Through the Forum, countries have agreed to reduce deforestation, prevent forest degradation, promote sustainable livelihoods and reduce poverty for all forest-dependent peoples.

Jan McAlpine, Director of the United Nations Forum on Forests Secretariat, said: “Turkey has stepped up as a leader by hosting an historic global meeting which will catalyse political and financial support for sustainable forest management”.

Forests presently cover 4 billion hectares, nearly 31 per cent, of the global land area. Approximately 60 million people are employed by forest-based industries, and the sector contributes $468 billion annually to global gross domestic product.

Source: Press release of the UN Department of Public Information

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