The GEF is bringing its long history of support for forests to a key United Nations forum in New York this week. The twelfth session of the UN Forum on Forests (UNF12), composed of all Member States of the UN and specialized agencies, is looking at various ways to protect, sustainably manage and increase the world’s forest area.
Since its inception, the GEF has demonstrated through its portfolio the crucial importance of all types of forest in providing a range of important environmental services. In New York, it will bring its experience to bear on discussions around the implementation of the UN Strategic Plan for Forests 2017-2030 (adopted last January).
GEF’s Director of Programs, Gustavo Fonseca, will moderate a session focused on sustainable forest management (SFM), an area where the GEF has supported 411 forest projects and programs totaling more than $2.7 billion in GEF grant support, leveraging $13.8 billion from other sources (as of 1st April 2017). A new factsheet sums up the GEF’s work in this area.
For more than two decades, the GEF has championed sustainable forest management. The GEF recognizes the need to preserve the integrity of forests and related ecosystems, while supporting livelihoods for communities. To that end, it supports a wide range of tools such as the creation of protected areas, certification of timber and non-timber forest products, and payment for ecosystem services.
"Conserving forests and ecosystems is essential but no longer sufficient. As countries strive to avoid the loss of their forests, they are rapidly expanding their efforts to restore landscapes..." said Gustavo Fonseca.
The GEF’s strategy for forests acknowledges that no two countries are alike. They vary in their development goals, technical and institutional capacity, and the extent and nature of forest resources. For that reason, programs are tailored to the needs of specific countries. On the one hand, the strategy helps countries tackle the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation. On the other, it supports the role of forests in national and local sustainable development plans.
As a member of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), the GEF is also actively supporting the UNFF Secretariat and the Forum by contributing to their varied areas of work, from the elaboration of technical and policy recommendations to the implementation of the Forum's decisions.