The second day of the 18th session of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF18) featured two panel discussions, one on transformative actions needed to ensure achievement of the UNFF thematic priorities for 2023-2024, the other featuring private companies on how regenerative agriculture can contribute to the achievement of the Global Forest Goals (GFGs). The Forum also heard presentations about the activities of the Collaborative Partnership for Forests (CPF), the linkages between the GFGs and the new Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), and key findings from analytical reports on progress in meeting two GFGs.
The panel on transformative actions featured the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Adaptation Fund, and two regional development banks. The GEF emphasized: protecting primary forests; restoring degraded forest ecosystems; and investing in integrated work on deforestation drivers in food systems. The Adaptation Fund highlighted action, innovation, and learning for accelerating and scaling financing focused on developing countries’ priorities, including locally-led adaptation, while increasing food security and biodiversity conservation. The African Development Bank urged increasing forestry investments to 5% of regional banks’ portfolios. The Asian Development Bank highlighted its Innovative Natural Capital Financing Facility, which co-finances and supports projects with significant natural capital components that contribute to SDGs in developing member countries.
The panel on regenerative agriculture examined practices by private companies such as Nestle, HowGood, and Reforest’Action to support building farmers’ capacity along their value chains to switch to regenerative agriculture through agroforestry. Recommendations from the panelists included: capacity building; generating funds from local private companies that source food from these farmers through leveraging carbon market opportunities; allowing no deforestation in their supply chain; taking long-term action on restoring forests; and considering landscape approaches.
In his report, CPF Chair Zhimin Wu reported that the assessment recommended clarifying the CPF’s focus and alignment, sharpening work plans with a focus on more concrete action, and increasing mobilization of the political will of CPF member organizations and their member states. He said the CPF will have a retreat in Nairobi in June 2023 to discuss ideas about how to improve support to UNFF, such as through: staff secondment; regular reviews of CPF work; enhanced joint advocacy on specific themes; webinars; and improved CPF working modalities such as task forces or joint programming committees. Wu announced that the proposed theme for the 2024 International Day of Forests will be “forests and innovation.”
Jihyun Lee, Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), discussed the GBF’s linkages with the GFGs, including to facilitate national implementation of ecosystem protective actions, acknowledge the role of Indigenous Peoples, and respect traditional knowledge systems. She said this will require a whole-of-systems approach.
As for the analytical reports presented by the consultants, Léonce Konguem reported that at least 10 SDGs will be impacted through GFG 2 (enhance forest-based economic, social and environmental benefits) achievement. He made several recommendations, including improving the accuracy of measuring particular targets and highlighting the role of forests in recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic at the SDG Summit in September 2023. Mahendra Joshi suggested that UNFF encourage countries to include details on progress made in achieving GFG 3 (increase protected and sustainably managed forest area) in their reports and explore ways to measure progress on target 3.3 (increasing the proportion of forest products from sustainably managed forests) more realistically.