Celebrating forest for the people

Launch of the International Year of Forests 2011 will be held on 2 February in the UN General Assembly Hall, part of the High-level Segment of the 9th session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF9)

The President of the General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Joseph Deiss, will preside over the ceremony and the programme will open with a video message from Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon. The ceremony will also feature an array of international speakers, from government ministers to Nobel laureates and other members of the international forest community including Under-Secretary General Mr. Sha Zukang, Nobel laureate Elinor Ostrom, Nobel Peace laureate Wangari Maathai, renowned filmmaker Yann Arthus-Bertrand, and Felix Finbeiner, founder of Plant the Planet.

Communicating forest stories through the medium of film is a major component of the International Year. At the ceremony, Mr. Arthus-Bertrand will premiere his film “Forest”, a 7-minute short film made especially for the International Year of Forests. Also, clips from winning films of the International Forest Film Festival will be shown as part of the program.

In addition to the ceremony, celebrations will continue throughout the day. The Croatian government is holding a photo exhibit entitled “Through the Eye of the Forester” in the General Assembly lobby, and the Turkish government will host a photo exhibit on forests in their cultural centre in New York. Finally, on the evening of 2 February, the United States government and MillionTrees New York are hosting a reception at David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center in New York.

We depend on forests

At least 1.6 billion people directly depend on forests for their livelihoods and the majority of them are poor and live in and around forests. It is estimated that approximately 60 million people, mainly from indigenous and local communities, reside in forests. According to FAO data, the annual value of wood harvested from forests is more than $100 billion, and globally, more than 60 million people are employed by forest-based industries (wood, pulp and paper and other processing plants).

“Forests are the intersection of all aspects of human life – forest history, at its core, is about the changing relationships between people and forests,” said the Director of the UN Forum on Forests Secretariat, Jan McAlpine during the opening segment. “At this session of the Forum, we must listen to these lessons from our natural history, and incorporate the voices of the people into forest policies to build a sustainable future for both forests and people.”

Activities in celebration of the Year cover a wide range of public events from tree-plantings to concerts, and field trips to art competitions.

For more information: http://www.un.org/en/events/iyof2011/

Measuring global trade – Do we have the right numbers?

The Global Forum on Trade Statistics, to be held in Geneva from 2 to 4 February, will gather policy makers, statisticians and other experts in the field to discuss the best mechanisms to measure trade statistics right

The Global Forum on Trade Statistics, organized jointly by DESA’s Statistics Division and the Statistical Office of the European Communities (Eurostat) in collaboration with the World Trade Organization (WTO), aims to answer the question “Measuring Global Trade Do we have the right numbers?”

This questions has become even more crucial in today’s global economy as nations depend on one another more than ever before, and thus, getting the numbers right on international trade becomes a key element for decision makers from across the world.

For more information: http://unstats.un.org/unsd/trade/s_geneva2011/geneva2011.htm

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