20/03/2015 Bangkok, Thailand
With pollution levels off the charts in some Asian cities and haze from forest fires blanketing much of Southeast Asia, this year’s International Day of Forests on 21st March reminds us what’s at stake if countries don’t get more serious in dealing with deforestation and climate change, an official at the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said today.
“The present efforts to address climate change clearly need to be stepped up to include more effective forest management and expansion of forest cover,” said Hiroyuki Konuma, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific, adding that “more than 11 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions result from deforestation and forest degradation.”
Forests are crucial in allowing our planet to adapt to climate change as they help ensure water availability, protect against landslides, prevent desertification and provide livelihoods for people. Forests cover 31 percent of global land area and almost as much carbon is stored in forests (650 billion tons) as in the atmosphere (760 billion tons).
Some improvements in Asia – but more is needed
While the Asian region as a whole has achieved a small increase in forest cover in the last decade, due to massive reforestation programmes in a few countries such as China and Viet Nam, continuing loss of natural forests, forest degradation and declining forest health continue to be a concern in most countries of the region.
“Protecting the remaining forests of our region conserves the biodiversity that is vital for plants, humans and other animals to adapt to climate change,” Konuma said. “If we stop the damage now, we will not only avoid massive release of forest carbon into the atmosphere, but our forests will also potentially be able to absorb more than one-tenth of global carbon emissions and store them long-term in the form of forest biomass, in the soil and in wood products.”
Forests, women and climate change
A new report, just released by FAO and RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests, highlights that women could be a major force in countries’ strategies to improve forest management. Studies confirmed the key roles of women in managing and protecting forests in the Asian region. Their contributions are therefore seen as critical in dealing with the challenges associated with climate change.
“It is time to acknowledge the major role that women have in managing forests,” said Konuma. “Women have to be given more opportunity to play leading roles and given far greater say when decisions are made about trees and forests; it is very clear that no initiative aimed at addressing climate change or forest management will be successful without the full involvement of women.”
Raising awareness of policy makers, practitioners and the general public
International Day of Forests, held annually on 21 March, helps raise awareness of the importance of forests to people. More than 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihoods, medicine, fuel and food.
In Asia and the Pacific, FAO is working with all levels of society to raise awareness of the importance of forests, through debate involving high-school and university students at FAO in Bangkok this week, and a high-level executive forest policy course on people, land use and forests in the ASEAN region next week.
“Raising awareness is important, as is successful conclusion of negotiations on a comprehensive international climate change agreement,” said Konuma. “But what really matters is how we address these challenges on the ground. In this aspect, we need the support of everyone, including the critical contributions of women in ensuring sound forest management.”
LAND GOVERNANCE FOR INCLUSIVE DEVELOPMENT, JUSTICE AND SUSTAINABILITY: TIME FOR ACTION
WHY THE GLOBAL LAND FORUM?
The Global Land Forum is a unique event that brings together over 500 grassroots organisations, activists, local and international NGOs, researchers, multilateral organisations and government agencies from around the world.
The Forum is action-oriented. The programme is structured to provide opportunities to participants who may not commonly interact to debate, exchange, learn from each other’s experiences and successes, strategize, and build linkages. High-level plenary keynote presentations from different perspectives will provide a context for a wide diversity of sessions organised by participants according to their interests. There will be a strong focus onsharing best practices towards people-centred land governance, and on identifying opportunities for engagement and collaboration.
The Forum will create particular opportunities for participants to learn from, and contribute to, land governance successes and challenges in Senegal and Africa. It will facilitate dialogue to the highest political level on land reform in Senegal. Moreover, the global cope of the Forum will enable exchange across different national and regional contexts that allows for not only identification of trends, but also the emergence of new perspectives and areas demanding common action.
ILC’s 152 members will adopt a declaration with common commitments to action in their Assembly following the Forum.
Over the past decade, the International Land Coalition (ILC) has advanced its mission by promoting secure access to land for rural people, mainly through capacity building, dialogue, and advocacy.
Every two years, ILC organises an international Forum (GLF) to convene its members and other stakeholders to advance understanding of the complex and dynamic political, economic, environmental and social linkages between land governance, food security, poverty and democracy.
The 2015 Global Land Forum will take place 20 years after the Brussels Conference which established the International Land Coalition. In these two decades the members of the coalition have significantly advanced the coalition’s mission to promote secure and equitable access to and control over land.
Moreover the 2015 Global Land Forum will take place in the same year that the UN General Assembly commits to a new comprehensive sustainable development agenda, in which land and natural resources are likely to feature pro minently. It will offer a unique platform for considering the practical implications of such global commitments, and in particular how those concerned can link up their efforts to better bring about this change.
The Forum is an open event and is held back-to-back with ILC’s Assembly of Members.
The conference theme
Land governance for inclusive development, justice and sustainability: time for action stresses the centrality of land and natural resource rights to our vision of building a better world in the post-2015 era. It focuses on the progress achieved in benchmarking good land governance globally and in Africa, but also on the continued need to critically examine the benchmarks and improve them where possible. Furthermore, it emphasises the challenge of now translating them into reality.
Participants will hear challenging perspectives and debates in plenary, but will also be able to lead or participate in a wide variety of workshops on topics linked to the theme and to share innovation through the Marketplace of Ideas. There will be plenty of opportunities for interaction.
Know more about Global Land Forum 2015
With global attention focused on inequitable land-related investments, governments, donors, civil society, and the private sector are searching for ways to improve land governance and investment practices.
The Department for International Development (DFID) has launched a four-year Responsible Investments in Property and Land (RIPL) project, implemented by Landesa, to lead a global effort to help women and men, communities, governments, and investors realize socially responsible, transparent, and financially sustainable land-related investments. | Visit the RIPL webpage
Namati is seeking new partners to support communities to document and protect their customary or indigenous lands.
Drawing on five years of research and field-testing, Namati and our partners have designed a powerful four-step process for protecting community lands and natural resources. Our approach supports communities to map their resources, resolve boundary conflicts, and formally register their lands. Communities also draft and adopt rules for good land governance, sustainable natural resource management, and intra-community equity and justice. By the end of the process, communities are empowered to set the course of their own development and engage with potential investors on their own terms.
To keep pace with the global land rush, thousands of communities must take action to protect their rights. Namati is looking for new partners to adapt our approach to support communities in their regions.
The deadline for applications is April 15, 2015
New Partnership Program
We are seeking mission-driven organizations that are sincerely trusted by communities. Our partners have committed management, experienced field staff, strong legal analysis skills, and capacity to translate impacts into policy advocacy.
Namati and partners co-create and co-implement community land protection efforts. We work with partners as equals: while each partnership is tailored to context, all partners have an equal stake and voice in the program.
Namati will provide new partners with the tools, support, and resources they need to successfully apply this approach and impact land policy in their nations. Together, we will collect data, analyze impacts, and continually learn from our collective efforts.
All of our partners will receive access to a fully developed and tested monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system that can be customized to each partner’s context. Namati will also work with partners to co-publish papers, reports, and advocacy tools, as appropriate.
March 11: Dishing up the dirt
Pablo Tittonell, Professor and Chair of the Farming Systems Ecology Group at Wageningen University, argues that by taking advantage of soil’s natural processes a lot more land could be used productively, helping to meet the world’s growing food needs and to reduce agriculture’s carbon footprint.
AgTalks presents the latest thinking, trends and research on policies and innovations in small-scale farming.
Each AgTalk is recorded as part of a live event hosted by IFAD, and in the coming months we will release a new talk biweekly. Subscribe to IFAD’s YouTube channel to be notified about every new release.