Forests act as natural filters, providing clean air and water, and they are havens of biological diversity
United Nations | Xinhua | UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday called for “tangible and credible” management of forests, which are “essential” for both human being and the planet.
Forests “act as natural filters, providing clean air and water, and they are havens of biological diversity … (and) help to regulate our climate by influencing rainfall patterns, cooling urban areas and absorbing one-third of greenhouse gas emissions,” the UN chief said in his message marking the International Day of Forests.
Commemorated annually on March 21, the international day reminds everyone that the sustainable management of forests and their resources, are key to combating climate change, and to contributing to the prosperity and well-being of current and future generations.
Forests also play a crucial role in poverty alleviation and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, Guterres said, noting that “they provide many communities and indigenous peoples with livelihoods, medicines, sustenance and refuge.”
Even though these priceless ecological, economic, social and health benefits, global deforestation continues “at an alarming rate,” said the top UN official, noting that while commitments to halt the wanton destruction of trees have rung out “loud and clear,” and slowing has been registered in some regions, “each year we still degrade and destroy some 10 million hectares of forest.”
“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.
It is the time for “tangible and credible action on the ground,” said Guterres.
This means “ending the unsustainable consumption and production patterns” that jeopardize forests and providing support to sustainably manage forests in the countries and peoples who need it, he added.
“On this International Day of Forests, let us recommit to healthy forests for healthier livelihoods,” the UN chief concluded.
The UN General Assembly proclaimed March 21 the International Day of Forests in 2012 to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests. The International Day of Forests is celebrated with a particular theme every year. The theme for 2022 is “Forests and Sustainable Production and Consumption.”