Every day, around the globe, forests contribute substantially to people’s well-being. For some, forests have a romantic dimension, while others appreciate them for recreational activities or as a source of raw materials. Yet, forests are so much more: they are the earth’s lungs, they regulate the global climate, their soils and trees absorb carbon, and they produce the oxygen we breathe. Forests are also natural water filters and reservoirs, they protect soils and provide habitats for plants and animals. In short, without forests we could not survive.
Around the world, some 1.6 billion people – often the poorest of the poor – depend on forests as their major source of food, medicine, building material and energy. They also value them for their spiritual significance. This gives forests an important role in the fight against poverty. As the initiator of sustainable forest management, Germany has long been aware of forests as a vital resource and lends its support to international efforts to foster forest management approaches aimed at economic development and forest preservation.
This is all in line with the concept of a Green Economy, the subject of an international conference held in Bonn from 4 – 7 October 2011. The conference was jointly organised by the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development and the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, and with support from Finland and Austria, the conference took place at the Stadthalle in Bad Godesberg, a suburb of Bonn. As part of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF), it served in preparing the UN Conference on Sustainable Development which will be held in Rio de Janeiro in 2012.
Our own Felix Dodds attended the conference, providing input on how to incorporate forest conservation into the Rio+20 agenda.
For a full summary of the forest conservation conference click here.