Senior UN official tells how forests can contribute to sustainable development

A new International Agreement on Forests should aim at advancing implementation of sustainable forest management and bring about a reversal of deforestation, the President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) said this morning.

Addressing the High-Level Segment of the 11th Session of the UN Forum on Forests, ECOSOC President, Martin Sajdik, said the international arrangement on forests (IAF) should also harness its full potential to mobilize further political support and resources required to fulfil its objectives, and should mainstream forests and sustainable forest management into sustainable development at the global, regional, national and local levels.

“I am pleased to see that the Forum considers as a high priority the integration of its future arrangement in the broader development agenda beyond 2015, and is undertaking adaptations to the new agenda through its deliberations on the international arrangement on forests (IAF) beyond 2015,” said Mr. Sajdik.

A strengthened and effective IAF beyond 2015 would enable the UN Forum on Forests to provide further contributions to the Council’s efforts to support the achievement of sustainable development, he said, adding that a strong Ministerial Declaration from the current Forum would “send a signal” on the importance of further elevating the profile of forests and serve as a concrete input to the post-2015 development agenda.

Mr. Sajdik said the Forum had been successful in integrating the multiple benefits of forests and their contributions to sustainable development into the broader development agenda, including the sustainable development goals (SDGs) which were currently under consideration as part of the post-2015 development agenda.

This was one of several ways in which the Forum had promoted management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests in the past 15 years and become an “indispensable” member of the ECOSOC system.

“One of the most significant contributions made by the Forum is the agreement on the non-legally binding instrument on all types of forests, also known as the Forest Instrument,” he said. “The impact of the work of the Forum has been visible in other forest-related intergovernmental bodies and processes, as well as sustainable development processes.”

The Council President stressed how well-placed the Forum is to define the role of forests in sustainable development, and to contribute to the work of the ECOSOC High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) going forward.

“You are approaching the decision on the IAF beyond 2015, and are about to shape the framework for the next fifteen years,” he said. “I look forward to a constructive and energetic policy dialogue on the integration of forests in the post-2015 development agenda, and renewed commitments to the implementation of the IAF beyond 2015.”