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

Press Conference with Mr. Wu and H.E. Mr. Veysel Eroğlu, Minister of Forestry and Water Affairs at the 10th Session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF10)

Thank you, Honourable Minister.

Good afternoon, distinguished guests and members of the press.

I am very pleased to be here in Istanbul for the tenth session of the United Nations Forum on Forests.  This is an historic session. It is the first time that the Forum has been held away from UN Headquarters. We are truly grateful for the high level of support and warm hospitality shown by the people and the Government of Turkey. 

Turkey’s commitment to international cooperation is undeniable. Just two years ago the UN was fortunate to have the fourth UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) hosted here in Istanbul. In fact it was held at this same Lutfi Kirdar Convention and Exhibition Center (LKCC).

This session of the Forum has a very important theme – “Forests for Economic Development”. This is a crucial policy area for forests. It has far-reaching implications for global sustainable development. 

The formal forestry sector’s contribution to global gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to be nearly US $468 billion annually.

But the value of forests cannot be measured in GDP only.  Forests also provide critical ecosystem services. Three quarters of the freshwater used for household, agriculture and industry is provided through forested catchments areas.

Over the next two weeks, senior government delegates and distinguished experts from around the globe will discuss needed policies to support the contributions of forests to economic growth, social enhancement and environmental sustainability. 

A key issue here is adequate and sustained financing, which is also on the agenda for this session.

This tenth session of the Forum is a timely opportunity to reemphasize the critical role of forests in global development. This is especially important given the ongoing deliberations on defining a post-2015 UN development agenda with sustainable development at its core.

This conference also offers Turkey an opportunity to showcase its steadfast commitment and best practice on sustainable forest management. No doubt it is an inspiration to the entire international community.

I will stop here and welcome any questions you may have.

Thank you.