UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said that, while forests act as natural filters and ensure clean air, water and biological diversity, yet each year, we degrade and destroy some 10 million hectares of forest.
In his message for the International Day of Forests, observed on 21 March, the UN chief said that it is time we see tangible and credible action on the ground. “This means ending the unsustainable consumption and production patterns that jeopardise our forests. And it means providing support for the sustainable management of forests to the countries and people who need it,” he added.
International Day of Forests, observed every year on March 21, reminds everyone that sustainable management of forests and their resources is the key to combating climate change and contributing to the prosperity and better living of present and future generations.
Forests also play an important role in eradicating poverty and in achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs).
“They provide many communities and indigenous peoples with livelihoods, medicines, sustenance and refuge,” said the UN chief.
Despite these invaluable ecological, economic, social and health benefits, deforestation and eradication worldwide continue at an alarming rate. While the resolutions to stop the brutal destruction of trees have been made loudly and some areas have seen some decline in the rate of deforestation, “every year about one crore hectares of forest land is cleared and destroyed,” said Guterres.
“It is essential that the world implements the recent Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use and other instruments designed to protect our forests,” underscored the Secretary-General.
He said that this is the time to take concrete and reliable action on the ground. This means stopping non-sustainable consumption and production trends that destroy forests and providing support for sustainable management of forests for countries and people in need.
The UN General Assembly, in the year 2012, declared 21 March to be observed as International Day of Forests, with the aim of raising awareness about the importance of all types of forests and forests.
All countries at all levels are encouraged to organise activities around forests and trees, for example, tree plantation campaigns.
The UN One Forum and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) together with other agencies and organisations ran activities on the occasion.