Forest and water – sustain life and livelihoods

To increase awareness of the vital, symbiotic relationship between forests and water, UN-Water and the UN Forum on Forests are combining forces for a joint celebration of the International Day of Forests and World Water Day on Monday, 21 March at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

forest and water

“Forests cover 30.6 % of the world’s land area and more than 1.6 billion people worldwide depend on forests for food, water, medicines and fuel, as well as their jobs and livelihoods,” Manoel Sobral Filho, Director of the UN Forum on Forests, said, putting the importance of forests in perspective.

“Throughout history, as populations increase, forest land has been converted to agriculture and other uses. The world’s population is predicted to reach 8.4 billion people within the next 15 years – with most of the growth in Africa and Asia – and the demand for forest goods and services will increase proportionally.”

Forests are especially crucial for some of the world’s largest cities such as Durban, Jakarta, Rio de Janeiro, Bogotá, New York, and Madrid, as they draw a significant portion of their drinking water from forested areas.

“75 per cent of freshwater used for household, agricultural and industrial needs worldwide is provided through forested catchments,” Sobral said.

Read the full article in DESA Voice, the newsletter of the Economic and Social Department of the UN.