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International Day of Forests
21 March

"As we deliberate on the post-2015 development agenda, let us acknowledge the vital role of forests and pledge to work together to protect and sustainably manage these vital ecosystems."

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Message for the 2014 International Day of Forests

Haitian Students Breathe New Life into Depleted Pine Forest
United Nations Photo

This global celebration of forests provides a platform to raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests and of trees outside forests.

Forests cover one third of the Earth's land mass, performing vital functions around the world. Around 1.6 billion people - including more than 2,000 indigenous cultures - depend on forests for their livelihood.

Forests are the most biologically-diverse ecosystems on land, home to more than 80% of the terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects. Forests also provide shelter, jobs and security for forest-dependent communities.

They play a key role in our battle in adapting to and mitigating climate change. Forests contribute to the balance of oxygen, carbon dioxide and humidity in the air. They protect watersheds, which supply 75% of freshwater worldwide.

Yet despite all of these priceless ecological, economic, social and health benefits, we are destroying the very forests we need to survive. Global deforestation continues at an alarming rate - 13 million hectares of forest are destroyed annually. Deforestation accounts for 12 to 20 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

Activities expected to take place on the 2014 International Day include tree-planting and other community-level events, and national celebrations including art, photo and film as well as social media.

UNHQ Special Event on the International Day of Forests
21 March, 10am to 1pm, ECOSOC Chamber

The event will be chaired by Mr Thomas Gass, Assistant Secretary-General, Department of Economic and Social Affairs and will feature a keynote speech by Ms Susana Malcorra, Under-Secretary-General, Chef de Cabinet, Executive Office of the Secretary-General.

The theme of the event is Celebrating Forests for Sustainable Development, and will include a Panel discussion on “Women as agents of change for forests and sustainable development” with inspiring speakers from forest heroes to film makers, as well as award-winning short films.

The event will conclude with a general discussion. The list of speakers for the general discussion is open, and details on how Member States can inscribe to this list, are available in the UN Journal PDF document

Event programme PDF document

The event will be live webcast on http://webtv.un.org/

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