Promoting forests’ contributions to green economies

The conference on the Contribution of Forests to a Green Economy was held in Bonn, Germany on 4-7 October

The meeting was organised in support of the UN Forum on Forests, and in preparation for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in June 2012. The meeting was jointly organized by the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development and the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection in collaboration with the UN Forum on Forests Secretariat (UNFFS) and FAO.

The conference brought together nearly 150 forest experts from governments, the Collaborative Partnerships on Forests (CPF), intergovernmental organizations and major groups. Presentations and panel debates focused on the essential role that forests play in sustainable development.

The significant role of forests in transitioning towards green economies was stressed, noting that forests provide a variety of goods and services that support human well-being, including through poverty reduction. Nearly a quarter of the world’s population (1.6 billion people) depends on forest goods and services for livelihood and subsistence.

In her opening address, the Director of the UN Forum on Forests Secretariat, Jan McAlpine, highlighted the changes in approach and vision related to forests that have taken place in the 20 years since the first Rio Summit in 1992. She pointed out that “one size does not fit all”, and that green economies will apply differently across countries, depending on their national circumstances, priorities and capacities. She also emphasized the critical role that the International Year of Forests has played in raising awareness and visibility of forests, both in the global policy agenda, and in public media.

The conference included side events, a reception celebrating the winners of the Future Policy Awards, and the inauguration of the International Forest Days in the city of Bonn. The outcome of this conference is contained in a co-chairmen summary which will be submitted to the Rio+20 Preparatory Committee.

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