The Strategist

Forests Can Save Humanity from Starvation

05/13/2015 - 17:03

Forests can make an important contribution to the fight against world hunger. This is stated in the UN report on forests and food security. Its publication is timed to the session of the Forum on Forests, which these days takes place in New York.

The report noted that nowadays one in nine people in the world still suffer from hunger. The majority of the starving live in Africa and Asia. Experts propose to solve this problem through more active involvement of forest products in diet.

In the new report, the experts recalled that the meat of wild animals, river fish and edible forest insects are an excellent source of protein and vitamins. These and many other forest products can compensate the lack of food in the poorest regions.

Besides, the forest is not only a source of necessary food, but also a source of fuel for cooking. 2.4 billion people use fuelwood for this purpose.

- This report reminds us of the important role of forests in improving food stability, - said the Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs in UN DESA, Thomas Gass.

Forests cover almost 31% of Earth's land surface, and about 4 billion hectares. They play a central role in the process of carbon exchange between terrestrial ecosystems and the atmosphere, and contribute greatly to the reduction of poverty.

Deforestation of the Earth as a result of disboscation, degradation and fires are the concern of the entire international community.

The UN chief stressed that proper management of forests is an integral part of efforts to promote sustainable development. The issue, he said, should be included in the agenda of development for the period after 2015.

Bhaskar Vira, one of the report's authors said:

- We do not believe that forests can replace agriculture. Recently, however, we often see people include "forest products" in their diet in some countries.

More than 60 scientists from around the world worked on the preparation of the report. They concluded that the forest depends on the power and profits of nearly every sixth person on the planet. The experts called upon States to pursue a more efficient management of forest resources for the benefit of local communities.

UN Forum on Forests was established in 2000 in the context of the formation of the International Arrangement on Forests. The main task of the UNFF is to promote the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests and strengthen long-term political commitment to this task. At the present meeting, member states will determine the structure of the international arrangement on forests for the next 15 years.

The 11th session of the UNFF is held in two stages. First, the expert segment will prepare theresolution of the Forum, which will include decisions related to the main elements and functions of the international arrangement on forests for the period after 2015, their institutional organization, funding their activities and the implementation of sustainable forest management and the draft of a Ministerial Declaration, confirming the intentions of members to include forest-related issues in the agenda of the UN in the field of development and express political commitment to effective international arrangement on forests. The Ministerial Declaration will be adopted by the heads of forest departments of the UNFF participating countries at the final stage.

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