Celebrating forests for people

The General Assembly declared 2011 as the International Year of Forests (Forests 2011) to raise awareness on sustainable management, conservation and development of all types of forests. This October, in preparation for the Year, the official website and the International Forest Film Festival were launched, along with other advancements in preparation for Forests 2011.

The Year provides a means of bringing those voices together and building momentum towards greater public participation in forest activities around the world. To help facilitate achievement of the objectives of the Year, the secretariat of the United Nations Forum on Forests is undertaking many communication activities.

Launch of Forests 2011 Website

The site, launched in early October, provides a global platform to celebrate people’s action to sustainably manage the world’s forests and will serve as the central hub of information for all things related to Forests 2011.

The site currently features a slide show, a calendar of activities, information on the International Forest Film Festival and national plans for the year. Throughout 2010, additional multimedia features will be added, including videos, slide shows, fact sheets, searchable events calendars and more. These will help create an interactive environment that will draw people in and inform them about events and issues throughout Forests 2011.

International Forest Film Festival

The United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) Secretariat, in collaboration with the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival, launched the International Forest Film Festival (IFFF) in early October. The IFFF is currently open for submissions, and a call for entries has been sent out.

The festival aligns with the theme of Forests 2011: “Forests for people”. Using narratives and stories, told through the powerful medium of film, the IFFF will spread the message of Forests 2011 in a new and significant way. Film categories such as “This is My Forest” highlight people’s personal connection to their local forests, and “Forest Heroes” showcase individuals with profound dedication to forests. The deadline for submissions is 30 November 2010.

The IFFF will showcase a selection of forest films as part of the global launch of Forests 2011 taking place at the Ninth Session of the UN Forum on Forests at UN Headquarters in New York, and subsequently at other festivals and events around the world.

Forests 2011 Logo

The logo, designed to convey the theme of “Forests for People,” was launched in July 2010. Governments, the United Nations system and various stakeholders have expressed interest in using the logo, and it is being distributed by the UNFF Secretariat to approved parties. The logo is already being featured on Web sites, in meetings and on brochures.

Its design captures some of the multiple values of forests and the need for a 360-degree perspective: forests provide shelter to people and habitat to biodiversity; are a source of food, medicine and clean water; and play a vital role in maintaining a stable global climate and environment. All of these elements taken together reinforce the message that forests are vital to the survival and well-being of people everywhere, all 7 billion of us.

International Year of Biodiversity 2010

There is a clear synergy between the International Year of Biodiversity, which took place this year, 2010, and the forthcoming Forests 2011. A variety of activities will take place between late 2010 and early 2011. These will include the organization of a “bridging event” as part of the closing ceremony of the International Year of Biodiversity in December 2010 (Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan) as well as plans to build on the successes of the International Year of Biodiversity and carry the momentum forward into Forests 2011.

Launch of the International Year of Forests 2011

The Official launch of Forests 2011 will take place at the United Nations Headquarters during the high-level segment of the Ninth Session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (2 and 3 February 2011), in which Heads of State and Ministers are expected to participate. The programme will include high-level panel discussions, media activities, film screenings, the issuance of the United Nations commemorative stamp series for Forests 2011, and other public events.

Continuing Preparations for Forests 2011

The International Year of Forests, 2011 offers a unique opportunity to raise public awareness of the challenges facing many of the world’s forests and the people who depend on them. Great success stories and valuable lessons on how to promote sustainable forest management already exist. Forests 2011 provides a means of bringing those voices together.

As the year draws nearer, preparations are continually underway. From events to posters to contests and more, the UNFF Secretariat is working to make sure that Forests 2011 continues to build momentum towards greater public participation in forest activities around the world.

For more information: www.un.org/forests