On the opening day of the 18th meeting of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF18) delegates discussed implementation of the UN Strategic Plan for Forests (UNSPF), heard a presentation by the UNFF Secretariat Director on vision and priorities, and discussed the implementation of the Communication and Outreach Strategy for the UNSPF.
In opening statements, UNFF18 Chair Zéphyrin Maniratanga (Burundi) urged “breaking the silos” between forestry, biodiversity protection and climate change, and tackling them in a holistic, integrated manner, through concrete efforts on the ground. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) President Lachezara Stoeva (Bulgaria) called on UNFF18 to propose concrete actions that reflect the Global Forest Goals (GFGs) at the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Summit scheduled for September 2023 during the UN General Assembly. UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Li Junhua called for drawing attention to the critical role of forests and sustainable forest management (SFM) to eradicate poverty and achieve the SDGs.
The Forum held a general discussion on an update on implementation of the UNSPF, and delegations detailed their national actions and Voluntary National Contributions (VNCs) in support of the UNSPF.
UNFF Secretariat Director Juliette Biao Koudenoukpo presented “Building a shared vision: priorities, achievements and future opportunities.” She encouraged a shared vision on UNFF global leadership, raising its impact and accelerating UNSPF/GFG implementation. She urged UNFF attendance by more ministries, heads of state, the private sector, and multilateral development banks. She called for strengthening Global Forest Financing Facilitation Network (GFFFN) resource mobilization and improving contributions to the UNFF Trust Fund.
Delegates discussed the implementation of the UNSPF Communication and Outreach Strategy, including the annual International Day of Forests. Several delegates called for, among other things:
- more UNFF digital products and short videos on specific topics;
- revamping the UNFF website;
- coordination of messaging with the international conventions; and
- preparation of special communication materials for the upcoming SDG Summit on the role of forests for achieving the SDGs.