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Forests have tremendous potential

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Staff writer ▼ | June 26, 2014
Forests provide a tremendous potential to contribute to sustainable development and a greener economy, according to the United Nations agency report The State of the World's Forests (SOFO).
Forests
ForestsForests provide a tremendous potential to contribute to sustainable development and a greener economy, according to the United Nations agency report The State of the World's Forests (SOFO).


"This 2014 edition of SOFO focuses on the socioeconomic benefits derived from forests. It is impressive to see how forests contribute to basic needs and rural livelihoods. They are also a carbon sink, and preserve biodiversity," said Jos3 Graziano da Silva, Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

However, the report finds that these socioeconomic benefits are rarely fully recognized in national policies – despite their enormous potential to contribute to their vital role in providing local communities with food, energy and shelter.

"Let me say this clearly: we cannot ensure food security or sustainable development without preserving and using forest resources responsibly," Mr. da Silva maintained.

Opening the 22nd Session of the FAO Committee on Forestry (COFO), the agency asserted in a press release that a significant proportion of the world's population relies on forest products to meet basic needs for energy, shelter and some aspects of primary healthcare – often to a very high degree.

Yet according to SOFO, clear evidence has been lacking, "Evidence is critical to inform policies on forest management and use, and to ensure that the benefits from forests are recognized in the post-2015 development agenda – not only with respect to the environment but for their contributions to broader social issues as well."

FAO's new report stresses that providing local communities with access to forests and markets are powerful ways of enhancing their socioeconomic benefits and reducing poverty in rural areas.


 

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