By Justine Cefalu, 2015 TRI Fellow in Madagascar
We are sitting together in Diary’s wooden house, the walls covered in cloths to keep the cold out. Diary lives at the highest point in the village, and from his door we can see the other houses dotting the hillside, the rich green of the primary forest reserve to the left and the cleared slopes for rice, pineapple and taro cultivation to the right. The rain that followed us on the two-hour walk to the village subsides and the air loses its cold edge. Diary is telling us a story, his creased face animated, his eyes wide and alive.
I am going to tell you the story of why the long-eared owl has such big eyes. Before, he could see…
By Dana Baker, 2015 TRI Fellow in Tanzania
The Usambara forests, part of Eastern Arc Mountain Range in Tanzania, are considered to be the African equivalent of the Galapagos Islands. Experts consider the area to encompass some of the most important forest blocks in Africa. Driving along the steep single-track road into Amani Nature Reserve, one can find eight of the 21 known species of African violet. Less than 100 meters from my tent late one night, I identified five species of chameleon. One had three horns (Trioceros deremensis); another fit into the palm of my hand (Rhampholeon uluguruensis). A ranger at Nilo Nature Reserve quietly told me that it was a pygmy variety, found only here. The Amani, Nilo and Chome Nature Reserves are the last remnants of…
By Mariana Vedoveto, 2015 TRI Fellow in Brazil
The challenge of the conversion of tropical forests into croplands and grazing pastures demands urgent solutions. After a decade of decreasing deforestation rates, recent analysis of satellite imagery reveals a rapid increase of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest. According to IMAZON (2015), the pace of deforestation in the Amazon has more than doubled by the first quarter of 2015 compared to the rates of 2014, transforming native forests into agricultural and pasture lands (CIFOR, 2011). Increasingly, deforestation trends in the Brazilian Amazon have been linked to globalized markets for beef, timber, soybean, biofuels and other commodities.
In the past decade, there has been a remarkable proliferation of deforestation-free agreements between governments, the private sector and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with…
Youth Participation in the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) – We Can Do It?!
The UNFF is the international platform of 197 Member States and other stakeholders on all international forest-related policy processes. To encourage participation of civil society, the UNFF (like other UN bodies) has instituted Major Groups (MGs). Each MG communicates with the UNFF through their Focal Point. The objective of the Major Group Children and Youth (MGCY) is to bring the opinions, initiatives and proposals of the young generation into the international forest policy dialog. Making use of this platform and increasing its effectiveness is a great opportunity for all young people in the world to be heard.
The last main UNFF conference was the UNFF10 (= 10th Session of the United Nations Forum on Forests) in Istanbul, Turkey. In the next 1.5…
Nearly 1300 participants took part in the tenth session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF10) in Istanbul from April 8th – 19th 2013. For the first time, the biannual conference took place away from the UN Headquarters in New York. Over 50 ministers and high-level officials participated in the main negotiating topics:
- Forests in the post-2015 development agenda,
- Forests in a green economy,
- Payments for ecosystem services (PES),
- Introducing a sustainable development goal (SDG) on forests or natural resources, and
- A global legally binding instrument on forests.
The Forum agreed on measures to improve sustainable forest management (SFM) and recognized the necessity to set up a global fund to provide the required financial resources for implementation. Concerning the first resolution –…
Report from the Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue Organized by the UNFF Major Groups
“Major Groups play a crucial role in the UNFF process” UNFF10 chair Mario Ruales Carranza from Ecuador said. Witnessing the negotiations and current UNFF structure, one may ask: How far does the influence of civil society groups in the Forum’s process reach? Are the views and recommendations of the nine Major Groups of Women, Children and Youth, Indigenous People, Non-governmental Organizations, Local Authorities, Workers and Trade Unions, Business and Industry, Scientific and Technological Communities, and Farmers and Small Forest Landowners incorporated in the final UNFF document? To what extent do they meaningfully influence decision-making?
The Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue (MSD) gave all Major Groups the opportunity to speak in front of the plenary. During a three-minute speech, the focal…
Findings from a Promising Initiative for Investors, Rights-holders, Governments, and Donors
Forests for People – this slogan has circled through the United Nations particularly since the International Year of Forests 2011. Human wellbeing and healthy forests are directly linked through the various ecosystem services that we humans rely on. Forests are home to 300 million people around the world and 1.6 billion people’s livelihoods depend on forests. Yet, these people are often poorly involved in decisions that affect their very basis for survival.
The Forests Dialogue (TFD) provides a platform to discuss the most pressing issues concerning forests and people in a multi-stakeholder setting. As such, TFD has launched an initiative to find out how to best enable local people to control their valuable resources. Investing in Locally…
Opportunities and Challenges for Forest Finance
Forests contribute approximately one percent to the world’s GDP, a value of nearly $468 billion USD (FAO 2011). This figure only includes round wood production, wood processing and pulp and paper, and does not account for the immeasurable benefits that forests contribute to local livelihoods as well as indirect social benefits, such as cultural and indigenous values. The lack of internationally agreed socio-economic indicators creates a data gap and countries still cannot easily measure the “real” value of forests.
Significant data gaps make the valuation of non-wood forest products especially complicated, and as Jan McAlpine, Director of the UNFF Secretariat, stated, it is estimated that the value of forests is around three to five times higher than what the presented data indicate…
Cross-sectorial linkages and data gaps identified as opportunities for progress
Forests are complex. So it comes as no surprise that a major point of deliberation at the 10th UN Forum on Forests will be how to reconcile the tensions between landscape and community approaches, economic growth and social justice goals, and tradeoffs of lifestyle and equity inherent in sustainable development.
So, how will heads of state make their positions known? And, will official declarations bring much needed thought innovation and financial commitment to combat global deforestation? The first day of the conference, April 8th, set an ambitious, at times heart-felt, but non-specific, intangible tone.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan opened the conference with a note on personal responsibility in promoting sustainability. P.M. Erdoğan emphasized that we…
In a few days, a conference that will influence international forest policy and management for the coming years will begin. The United Nations Forum on Forests 10th Session (UNFF10) will take place from April 8th – 19th in Istanbul, Turkey. With the theme “Forests and economic development” the conference will explore how the manifold benefits from forests can be realized and contribute to a green economy that improves food security, preserves biodiversity, and increases social equity.
Sub-themes of the conference will be:
- Forest products and services,
- National forest programs and other sectorial policies and strategies,
- Reducing risks and impacts of disasters,
- Benefits of forests and trees to urban communities.
What is Yale Doing at UNFF10?
The Yale School of Forestry and Environmental…