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

10th session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF10) Forests, post-2015 and the Rio+20 outcomes: Implications and interconnections

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to address this side event highlighting three prominent and interconnected issues: the multilateral forest policy process, the post-2015 UN development framework and the follow up to Rio+20 outcomes.

Building on yesterday’s informative Ministerial Roundtable discussion, I will focus on the place of natural resources, including forests, in the post-Rio+20 processes and post-2015 UN development agenda.

In this regard, it is important to highlight the Forum’s role in integrating the economic, social and environmental benefits of forests into critical development issues, through an inclusive and participatory framework.

As we approach the deadline of 2015 for achieving the Millennium Development Goals, discussions are underway on a future development agenda. This offers a timely platform to elaborate a development agenda that is anchored on sustainable development.  Thus, as we continue to confront a mix of both new and old challenges, we realize that a broader, more integrated and inclusive development agenda is needed. 

For forests, this means a new opportunity to advance sustainable forest management in the broader landscape of social and economic development and environmental sustainability.

Distinguished Colleagues,

A new development framework will need to respond to pressing interdependent global challenges. With this in mind, Member States agreed at Rio on the establishment of a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They agreed that these goals should be action-oriented, concise, easy to communicate, limited in number, aspirational, global in nature and universally applicable to all countries.  They should also take into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development and respect national policies and priorities.

The processes to define the SDGs and the post-2015 UN development agenda must also recognize the role of natural resources in the context of poverty eradication. Evidence shows that previous patterns of economic growth driven by relentless consumption of natural resources, with benefits enjoyed by few, are not environmentally, or socially sustainable.

If we are to continue to advance our shared well-being, we must now bring together the economic, social and environmental dimensions in mutually supportive ways.

With this in mind, the SDGs should guide and contribute to transformative change, in support of an equitable and inclusive approach to sustainability at global, regional, national and local levels.

They must integrate more comprehensively environmental sustainability. The planetary disruptions now resulting from our historic neglect threaten to set back the social and economic progress of past decades.

Clearly, the SDGs should also accelerate and continue the work begun under the banner of the MDGs, building on the achievement of MDGs while addressing the gaps and lessons learned.

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

How can we ensure that the post-2015 development agenda is supportive and meaningful to the future international arrangement on forests?

This is our chance to highlight the cross-cutting role of natural resources for economic growth, social inclusiveness, and environmental sustainability.

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.


The next few years will be devoted to shaping future sustainable development issues, including the UN development agenda beyond 2015, and the future multilateral forest policy process. It will be especially critical in the lead up to the Forum’s 11th session in 2015.

I welcome your views on all these important issues. Thank you for your attention.