In the Media
Policymakers must consider forests before deciding on sustainable development goals
August 01, 2012
CIFOR Forests Blog
Scientists have called for policymakers to urgently consider the vital ecosystem functions served by forests ahead of the introduction of a set of UN goals to promote environmentally sustainable development post-2015.
Louis Verchot, director of the Forests and Environment Programme at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), said much of the focus in recent years has been on the role forests play in helping offset the amount of greenhouse gases pumped into the atmosphere by the burning of fossil fuels.
But other vital functions served by these unique ecosystems need to be integrated into political, social and economic agendas, he said. Home to millions of plant and animal species, many of them yet undiscovered, forests also provide opportunities for jobs, food and medicinal cures. During periods of extreme and unpredictable weather, forests can bring rain to drought-affected regions. As seas rise, mangroves protect crops planted along coasts from salt water infusion. And the list goes on.
Rio+20 saw growing support for the beginning of a process to define a series of universal Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with a view to implementation following the expiration of the Millennium Development Goals in 2015. The purpose of SDGs is to address the broad challenges of poverty eradication, environmental protection and sustainable consumption and production. While current suggestions include forests, more needs to be done to ensure that they are also integrated into other sustainable development agendas such as food security and energy development, scientists said.
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Keywords: ecosystem, Forest, Rio 20, SDG, Sustainable Development Goals