By Asmau Ahmad
The United Nations has advocated increased public finance to protect forests in the world.
Antonio Gutteres, the Secretary-General of the UN made this call on Monday at the opening of the 15th World Forestry Congress (WFC) in Seoul, South Korea.
The increase in the finance, he said should include source-based payments and a dearth of environmental swaps to achieve a deforestation-free world.
Gutteres, who spoke through his Deputy, Amina Mohammed, also called for a budget and policy for forestry commitment among global communities.
He said it was unfortunate that about 4.7 billion hectares of forest were being lost annually to deforestation and environmental degradation in the last decade.
The UN chief called for concerted efforts toward achieving deforestation-free supply chains.
“Since the last congress in 2015, recognition of the critical role of forests of all types play in meeting the sustainable development goals and achieving the past agreements has gained much attention.
“The recent classical degradation on forest and land use has further underlined key transform to actions needed to save all forest, and advance the 2030 agenda.
“This congress takes place right over the latest report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change.
“The panel warns that the world is dangerously close to irreversible topping point for forestry section, for the health of people, and for the planet”, he said.
According to him, this supports resilient livelihood, biodiversity consideration, sustainable economy and climate mitigation and adaptation.
“Forest remained under threat and in the last decade alone, the world has lost 4.7 billion hectares a year.
“We must specially recognise and act on the value of the forest hence the theme of the congress, ‘Building a Green, Healthy and Resilient Future with Forest’.
“We need all stakeholders to come up with ideas and commitment that can be put into action,” he said.
Gutteres explained that forests could also be protected by expanding indigenous governance for forests in the perspectives of youth and women and using the latest scientific evidence and catchy head technology.
“I look forward to the outcome of this congress feeding into climate change and biodiversity negotiation and other policies.
“Together, I believe we can build a green, healthy and resilient future by realising the true value of the forest,” the UN scribe said.
In her remark, Princess Sasma Ali, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan canvassed a diversified approach to achieving success in building a green, healthy and resilient future with forest.
She is also Goodwill Ambassador of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
Princess Sasma said that 30 per cent of the world’s forest had been cleared with another 20 per cent degraded.
She said it would require dedicated political will and the development of policy measures to reverse the tide.
The FAO ambassador also called for the mobilisation of funds in addition to engaging all stakeholders to achieve the target.
“Accordingly, there is no to engage all stakeholders more importantly indigenous people, and local communities’ members.
“They possess the knowledge, and the custody of this ecosystem coupled with scientific experts who can monitor the system,” she said.
Qu Dongyu, Director-General, FAO, acknowledged some progress in reforestation, particularly in Asia including countries like South Korea, Japan and India.
Dongyu said the congress was an opportunity to make further commitment toward achieving the 2030 deforestation-free world in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).