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Renewing global cooperation to halt deforestation key goal of UN Forum on Forests

Renewing global cooperation to halt deforestation key goal of UN Forum on Forests

Global efforts to promote sustainable forest management is the focus of a United Nations meeting that UN and other officials have called key to spurring renewed international cooperation to protect the earth's woodlands.

The two-week UN Forum on Forests opened its second session on Monday at UN Headquarters in New York to review current trends and practices to determine what is working, what can be done differently, and how additional resources can be mobilized to stave off further deforestation and forest degradation.

In opening remarks yesterday, Nitin Desai, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said the way the forest issue was handled was important for development policies. Even if the objective was only to protect a forest, environmental, agricultural and transport policies also had to be addressed, as pressure on forests came from diverse sectors.

The reverse side was the recognition that development depended on protection of forests, he stressed. Forestry was a sector with long-term returns, which not always went the owners of forests.

For his part, Ambassador Knut Øistad of Norway, chairman of the session, voiced his confidence that the Forum was satisfied with the progress made on policy development for forests and that such progress would make an important contribution to the World Summit on Social Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, later this year.

In addition to the regular meetings, a high-level ministerial segment will take place from 13 to 14 March, including a dialogue session with heads of member organizations of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests to determine the message ministers may wish to take to the Johannesburg Summit.