Mr. Wu Hongbo Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Secretary-General for the International Conference on Small Island Developing States

Key Note Speech - UNFF10 Ministerial Roundtable 2: Interconnections among the Rio+20 outcome, Post-2015 UN development agenda and the International Arrangement on Forests

Distinguished Ministers,

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased to take part in this timely discussion on the interconnections and importance of forests for future development.

This session of the UN Forum on Forests meets at a critical time. We are in a defining period that will shape the future UN development agenda beyond 2015, with sustainable development at its centre.

The cross-cutting connections among the Rio+20 outcome, the post-2015 UN development agenda and the future of multilateral forest policy, require comprehensive analysis and review.

This dialogue, therefore, provides a first formal discussion on the connections. It will help guide the Forum as it prepares for its 11th session in 2015, which will take a decision on the future of the International Arrangement on Forests.

Excellencies,

Forests provide a wealth of ecosystem benefits that nourish human well-being, economic growth and environmental sustainability.

It is important to recognize and advance these interconnections.  They should also guide us as we consider the future international arrangement of forests and other key processes.

The Rio+20 Outcome Document, “The Future We Want”, incorporated a range of provisions on forests. It conveys a strong message on the international arrangement on forests, including the forest instrument and its global objectives, the UN Forum on Forests, and the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF).

The advancements made by the UNFF in performing its principal functions, including cross-sectoral and cross-institutional coordination, with the support of the CPF, are also reflected in the Rio+20 deliberations.

And while the Rio+20 Outcome provides specific attention to forests, it also underscores the inter-linkages of forests to other sectors. This includes for example, links to mountains and agriculture, as well as to green economy.

That is why at Rio+20 world leaders highlighted the importance of integrating sustainable forest management objectives and practices into the mainstream of economic policy and decision-making.

It is especially important to take note of the substantive links between the sustainable management of natural resources and a green economy. These links point to the need for a further examination of the relationship between forests, green economy and sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Finance and capacity building are additional important areas of work for the Forum. 

The results of the UNFF Facilitative Process and the Collaborative Partnership on Forests Advisory Group on Finance will help guide future cooperation in forest finance.

They will also provide invaluable inputs to the design of a Sustainable Development Financing Strategy, and its facilitation mechanism, as called for at the Rio+20 Conference. 

As high-level policy makers, your guidance on how to integrate sustainable forests management into broader economic and social policies is critical. You can enable the Forum to provide crucial and timely inputs to the post-2015 UN development agenda.

Excellencies,

World leaders at Rio launched a process to develop Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  They agreed that SDGs must be action-oriented, concise, easy to communicate, limited in number, global in nature and universally applicable to all countries.

To address this challenge, the way forward must:

  • recognize the economic, social and environmental benefits of each action in an integrated and comprehensive manner;
  • recognize the different levels of development among countries;
  • maintain the momentum in achieving poverty eradication and food security;
  • address the cross-cutting impacts of conflicts, disasters and inequality on all goals; and
  • make use of the cross-cutting, multifunctional role of natural resources for economic growth, social inclusiveness, poverty eradication, environmental sustainability and peace and security.

I believe that the Forum can be instrumental in employing such an approach, given its comprehensive and holistic vision on forests.

Forests are vital natural resources for people and the planet; no one disputes that.

One option under discussion is to work on one cross-cutting goal on natural resources. This could be an entry point to include forests in the post-2015 UN development framework.

In this way, the socio-economic and environmental services of forests and their interconnections to other sectors, would be integrated across all other SDGs.

Excellencies,

By addressing the forest issues in an integrated manner, we can help shape a future development agenda with sustainable development goals at its centre.

An important test of our resolve will be measured in how successfully we strengthen cooperation. This requires active engagement and cooperation from within the UN system, and with other stakeholders.  This will also help shape the future of the International Arrangement on Forests.

We stand ready to do our best and support your work in the post-2015 period.

I thank you for your attention and look forward to your discussions on the future of forests.

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