Agreement to Hold UN Forum on Forests in Istanbul Breaks New Ground
New York, 24 January -- For the first time a multilateral meeting on forests, of 193 member states, will be hosted by the Government of Turkey. An agreement to host the upcoming tenth session of the United Nations Forum on Forests in Istanbul from 8-19 April was signed today by the representatives of the United Nations and the Government of Turkey.
Turkey, as host country, will provide resources for holding the conference in Istanbul as well as for the participation of delegations from developing countries.
The agreement was signed by Mr. Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and Mr. Yasar Halit Çevik, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the United Nations.
Mr. Wu called Turkey's support for the Forum "generous" and said that Turkey’s offer to host the Forum represented its "strong political commitment to international cooperation." He said that this session of the Forum is very important to the ongoing discussions on the post 2015 UN development agenda.
Ambassador Çevik said that Turkey feels "honored to host the tenth Forum in Istanbul" and noted that this was the first time that the United Nations Forum on Forests would be held outside of 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."
The UN 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.
Ms. Jan McAlpine, Director of the United Nations Forum on Forests Secretariat said that "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 percent, of the global land area. Approximately 60 million people are employed by forest-based industries, and the sector contributes US$468 billion annually to global GDP.