The United Nations General Assembly has designated 21 March as the International Day of Forests “to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests and of trees outside forests”. Forests are central in the fight against climate change but they are a source of food, fibre, livelihoods, resources and water.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said: “By proclaiming the International Day of Forests, the United Nations has created a new platform to raise awareness about the importance of all types of forest ecosystems to sustainable development.”
“On this first International Day of Forests,” he continued, “I urge Governments, businesses and all sectors of society to commit to reducing deforestation, preventing forest degradation, reducing poverty and promoting sustainable livelihoods for all forest-dependent peoples.”
It is hoped that the International Day of the forest will help people recognise the importance of forests. The International Day “is hugely significant”, said Eduardo Rojas-Briales, Assistant Director-General of the Forestry Department at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), “as it gives forests the global attention and recognition they deserve for providing humankind with countless invaluable services and goods. From providing food and cash incomes for more than a billion of the world’s poorest forest-dependent people to playing a vital role in climate change adaptation and soil and water protection, forests sustain all life on earth.”