Climate Change

Need to triple investments for restoring degraded land by 2030: Seoul Declaration

The Declaration focuses on identifying key areas that can help combat multiple crises humanity faces

 
By Shuchita Jha
Published: Monday 16 May 2022
Degraded land in Burkina Faso. Photo: iStock
Degraded land in Burkina Faso. Photo: iStock Degraded land in Burkina Faso. Photo: iStock

Vast areas of degraded land across the globe require restoration. For this, the investment in forest and landscape restoration globally must be tripled by 2030 to implement global commitments and meet internationally agreed goals and targets, according to the recently adopted Seoul Declaration.

The Declaration focuses on identifying key areas that can help combat multiple crises humanity faces. It was adopted May 5, 2022, at the XV World Forestry Congress, held in Seoul, South Korea.

“The Seoul Forest Declaration sends a powerful message that forests, forestry and forest stakeholders offer major solutions to the challenges the world currently faces, but action is needed now,” Maria Helena Semedo, deputy director-general, Food and Agriculture Organization, said.

“We must now scale up political will and increase financial and technical investments. The Declaration will add to the sense of urgency to accelerate action, strengthen partnerships and enhance cross-sectoral collaboration,” she said.

The Declaration also stressed on international cooperation.

“Forests transcend political, social and environmental boundaries and are vital for biodiversity and the carbon, water and energy cycles at a planetary scale. The responsibility over forests should be shared and integrated across institutions, sectors and stakeholders in order to achieve a sustainable future,” it said.

It added that forest-based solutions must be inclusive of the perspectives of family farmers, smallholders, forest communities, indigenous peoples, women and youth and respectful of their rights.

The solutions must empower them to participate equitably in decision-making and sustainable forest value chains, the document said.

The Declaration, signed by 141 participant countries, also urged the use of innovative technology and mechanisms to enable evidence-based forest and landscape decision-making and effective forest communication.

New partnerships such as the Assuring the Future of Forests with Integrated Risk Management (AFFIRM) Mechanism, the Sustaining an Abundance of Forest Ecosystems (SAFE) initiative and the Platform for REDD+ Capacity Building were also undertaken at the Congress to boost international participation and cooperation.

The Declaration also pointed out that the health of forests and humans was closely related and forest degradation can have “serious negative impacts on human health and well-being”.

It stated that forests must be maintained in a healthy and productive state to reduce the risk of future pandemics and to provide other essential benefits for the physical and mental health of mankind.

The Declaration added that the full potential of sustainably produced wood can be utilised to transform the building sector, along with providing renewable energy and innovative new materials as wood was “renewable, recyclable and incredibly versatile.”

The Declaration added that the outcomes of the 15th WFC, including it as well as the Youth Call for Action and the Ministerial Call on Sustainable Wood, should be transmitted to the next Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, to the upcoming Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity and to other important forest-related fora.

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