United Nations Forum on Forests

 


 UNITED NATIONS FORUM ON FORESTS


 Why in the news? 


India hosted a Country-Led Initiative (CLI) event as part of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) in Dehradun, Uttarakhand.  

More about the News 


United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) was established in 2000, by the resolution of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC), UNFF promotes the management, conservation, and sustainable development of all types of forests.   India holds the distinction of being a founding member of UNFF. 




India Got Elected in 4 UN ECOSOC Bodies : India has been elected to the United Nations  Economic and Social  Council's  ( ECOSOC) four major  bodies, on April 13, 2022. The bodies to which India has been elected are Committee on Economic , Social and Cultural  Rights, Commission for Social Development, Committee on Non_ Commission on Science  and  Technology  for Development.  Ambassador  Preeti Saran gets re_ elected to Committee  for Economic , Social and Cultural  Rights. In 2018, she was first  elected to the Asia Pacific  seat on the UN' s Committee  on Economic , Social , and Cultural  Rights. 

 Country-Led Initiative (CLI)’s primary goal is to contribute to the discussions of UNFF regarding the implementation of Sustainable Forest Management and the UN Strategic Plan for Forests (UNSPF).   It also aims to facilitate the sharing of best practices among UNFF member States for the implementation of SFM and the UNSPF.  India led CLI focused on one of the themes of forest certification and Sustainable Forest Management (SFM). 




Forest Certification 


 Forest certification is a market mechanism to promote the sustainable use and management of forests and to identify “sustainably produced” products for the consumer.  Some countries consider forest certification as an effective means to ensure Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) and a tool for preventing forest degradation or deforestation.


   It is a voluntary process whereby an independent third party (the “certifier”) assesses the quality of forest management and production against a set of requirements (“standards”) predetermined by a public or private certification organization. 





• Types: There are two types of forest certification: 

 Certification of Forest Management, which assesses whether forests are being managed according to a specified set of standards; . Certification of the Chain of Custody (CoC certification), which verifies that certified material is identified or kept separate from non-certified or non-controlled material.

●Total forest area under certification has increased by 35% (or 120 million ha) since 2010. 

  Developing countries continue to face several challenges such as excessive costs of certification, audit and compliance issues, inaccessibility to forest owners in remote regions and lack of capacity due to the complexity of various certification standards



Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) 

 Definition  : According to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), SFM is the stewardship and use of forests and forests lands in a way, and at a rate, that:  maintains their biodiversity, productivity, regeneration capacity, vitality and   maintains their potential to fulfil, now and in the future, relevant ecological, economic, and social functions, at local, national, and global levels, and   does not cause damage to other ecosystems. 




Mumbai & Hyderabad  Recognized  as ' 2021 Tree Cities of the World' : Mumbai and Hyderabad  have been  jointly  recognised  as ' 2021 Tree cities  of the World's  by the United  Nations  Food and Agriculture  Organisation  ( UN_ FAO) and Arbor Day Foundation  on April 12, 2022. 

The two  Indian cities have won the recognition  for their " commitment  to growing and maintaining  urban  trees and  greenery in building  healthy,, resilient  and happy cities". 

 While  Mumbai  has made the first  for the first time, Hyderabad  has featured on it for the second consecutive  year. 




   The United Nation' ' Tree Cities  of the World' programme  provides  direction, assistance , and worldwide   recognition  for communities'  dedication  to its urban forest, and provides a framework  for a healthy,  sustainable  urban forestry. 

  Constituents  : implies various degrees of human intervention, ranging from administrative, legal, technical, economic, social and environmental actions aimed at safeguarding and maintaining forest ecosystems. 

  Outcomes : Sustainably managed forests provide important ecosystem services, such as carbon sequestration, biodiversity conservation, and the protection of water resources.  


Need for sustainable forest management 

 Biodiversity Conservation by maintaining ecosystems, protecting endangered species, and allowing for natural regeneration.

  Tackling  climate change : Forests act as carbon sinks, playing a crucial role in mitigating climate change and SFM is essential to minimizing the impact of climate change.  

 Community  development  : Forests are the lifeline of millions of people in India, especially the tribal communities and forest conservation cannot be isolated from the well-being of communities that rely on forest resources. 

   Forest fire management  :  In recent years, the world has witnessed an alarming increase in the scale and duration of wildfires.   Approximately 100 million hectares, equivalent to 3% of the world's forest area, is affected by fires every year. 62% of Indian states are prone to high_  intensity forest fires 

 Traditional  Knowledge  : Forests are a repository of medicinal plants and traditional knowledge



Measures taken by India for SFM

   Legislative Framework : India has enacted various conservation-oriented legislations such as the Forest Conservation Act (FCA) 1980, the Indian Forest Act 1927, and Wildlife Protection Act 1972 etc. For instance, the FCA allows the government to declare specific areas as reserved or protected forests, restricting degrading activities.

    Joint Forest Managegment ( JFM): JFM involves the collaboration between forest authorities and local communities for the protection and management of forests.

 Afforesatation and Reforestation  Programs  : Initiatives like the National Afforestation Program (NAP), Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA), Green Highways Programme etc.  

 Technology Adoption  : Use of technology, such as Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping, satellite imagery, and remote sensing, assists in monitoring and managing forest resources. 

 Development  of standards  : Through Bhopal-India Process, India developed its national set of 8 criteria and 37 indicators for sustainable management of its natural forests. 

   Community  Forest Rights : The Forest Rights Act, 2006 recognizes and vests forest rights in forest-dwelling communities thus harnessing the knowledge and capability of indigenous people in SFM.  


Way Forward

   India's  proposal  : India proposed to launch Gandhinagar Implementation Roadmap and Gandhinagar Information Platform that emanated from the G20 deliberations, to tackle restoration of forest fire and mining degraded lands.

Approval for Setting  up of G20 Secretariat: Union  on February  15, 2022, approved the setting up on a G20 Secretariat  and its reporting  structure  that will look after the affairs   of organising  the G20 summit in 2023. India is all set to hold  the Presidency  of the G20 ( Group  of Twenty) from  December  1, 2022 to November  30, 2023.  This Secretariat,  functional  till February  2024, will be  responsible  for the implementation  of  overall  policy decisions  and affairs needs for India's  G20 Presidency.

  Global Standards  : Setting up global benchmark standards for forest certification, conservation practices and forest fire management. 

 Integrated  fire management  strategy: A concerted approach to the prevention, management, and restoration of forest fires and policy interventions. o Promoting the use of Global Fire Management Hub for sharing of best practices. 

 Community  Development  : Livelihood improvement programmes and incorporating incentive schemes while formulating forest management policies.

 Cooperation: Promote regional and international cooperation and coordination among governments to address subnational and transboundary forest fire issues. 

State of the World's  Forests 2022 Report 

The United  Nations Food and  Agriculture  organization  ( FAO) released  its  flagship publication  ' The  State of the World's  Forest  ( SOFO) 2022: Forest Pathways  for Green  Recovery  and Building  Inclusive , Resilient  and Sustainable  economies ' on May 2, 2022.

 The publication  was launched  during the XV World Forestry Congress ( WFC 2021) being held  in Coex, Seout ( Republic  of Korea) from May 2_ 6, 2022. WFC 2021 is organised  by Korea Forest  Service  ( KFS), the Republic of Korea and FAO and it is hosted by KFS. The theme  of WFC 2021 was building a green, healthy and resilient  future  with forests. 

The forest of the world's  Forests ( SOFO) Presents data  and analysis  on the interaction  between  forests and  people every two years, with a focus on a specific  pertinent  topic. 

 The  report is published  bi_ annually   and is widely regarded  as one of the most important  stock takes on forest ecosystems.  

 The  report states that since 1990, around 420 million  hectares  ( mha) _ approximately  10. 34% , of forest  have  been lost through conversion  to other  land uses. 

  The rate of deforestation  has decreased  over  the last 30 years but it was still 10mha per year  from  2015  to 2020. 

Forest cover  around 31% ( 4.06 billion  ha) of the Earth's  land surface. 

 Arounds 15% of 250 emerging  infectious diseases are linked  to forests  and around  30% of new  associated  with deforestation  and land _ use change.


Bihar Conducts Statewide Waterbird Census 

 The first _ ever count  of waterbirds  in  the 58 identified wetland areas  is being conducted in Bihar  from February  16 to  26, 2022. 

 State forest, environment  and climate change  department  and the BNHS are jointly  conducting  the ' Asian Waterbird  Cenus', an annual  survey  of waterbirds species , in order  to ascertain  the exact number  of varieties  of indigenous  and migratory  Waterbird  in the state. 
 
 The census report will help  us know the  bird species  in different  parts of  Bihar and also the migration  birds  from  abroad and work for their protection  and conservation.



























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