Time to act on forests

Forest Day 4, coinciding with the 16th Conference of the Parties for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, will take place in Cancun, Mexico on 5 December

With the International Year of Forests on the horizon, forest and climate change issues will be a large part of the discussions at the Climate Change Conference. To help foster collaboration and action on the challenges facing forests, the fourth “Forest Day” (Forest Day 4) is being held on the theme “Time to Act”, highlighting the necessity of taking action to help preserve and sustainably manage the world’s forests, the biodiversity they embrace and the people who depend on them.

The event is being hosted by the Government of Mexico, through the National Forestry Commission, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) and the Centre for International Forest Research (CIFOR).

The Forest Day 4 programme will feature of a variety of discussions on the role of forests in climate change and biodiversity, as well as forest finance issues and the challenges surrounding Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) and sustainable forest management. Mr. Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), will address the plenary session of Forest Day 4 on “Global updates on forests and climate change”.

Each year, an estimated 13 million hectares (32 million acres) of forests are lost due to deforestation. Close to 80 per cent of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity reside in forest habitats, and global recognition on the role of forests is growing. “There is greater awareness of the benefits forests provide in stabilizing climate change, protecting biodiversity and in the livelihoods of billions,” says Director of the UN Forum on Forests Secretariat, Jan McAlpine.

Forests and forest soils store more than one trillion tons of carbon– twice the amount found in the atmosphere. As the International Year of Biodiversity 2010 transitions into the International Year of Forests 2011, Forest Day 4 will help to bridge the two years and continue momentum towards greater action and awareness on the links between forests, biodiversity and climate change in 2011.

Sub plenary and learning events will also be a large part of the Forest Day 4 programme. The UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) Secretariat, DESA, is co-organizing a sub plenary session on “Biodiversity: Synergies in policy and practice” together with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO). In addition, a learning event on “REDD+ and Forest Finance: The need for a 360 degree perspective on Forest Finance” is also being co-organized by the UNFF Secretariat together with UN Environment Programme and UN-REDD.

Last year, 1,500 people attended Forest Day 3 at COP15 in Copenhagen. This year, organizers are anticipating up to 2,000 participants.

For more information: http://www.forestsclimatechange.org/ForestDay-4.html

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