UN Forum on Forests held in Istanbul

01 May 2013

The tenth session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF10) was organized at the beginning of April in Istanbul.

New Horizons, May 2013 - The forum was organized in a city other than New York for the first time owing to the proposal of the Government of Turkey during the ninth session of the forum to host UNFF10 in Istanbul.

This year’s forum with the theme of “Forests and Economic Development” had the overall objective of assessing the progress made on the implementation of the Non-Legally Binding Instrument on all types of forests which was adopted at the seventh session of the United Nations Forum on Forests as well as its four Global Objectives on Forests.

A total of 2500 participants composed of high-level delegates including approximately 50 Ministers from 134 countries in all continents as well as international organizations and NGO’s around the world convened in Istanbul to deliberate over the international arrangements on forests and negotiate on the next steps.

The forum commenced with the opening remarks of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan followed by the statements of forum Chairs and Co-Chairs including Turkish Minister of Forestry and Water Works Prof. Dr. Veysel Eroğlu and UNFF Director Ms. Jan McAlpine after which the Secretary-General Reports on the Forest Instrument (FI) and the four Global Objectives on Forests were introduced.

Importance of forests on addressing global challenges emphasized

Other important subjects that were addressed during the two-week forum were country statements by Ministers; emerging issues of global significance; the Rio+20 outcome and its link to forests and sustainable forest management; the post-2015 UN development agenda.

At the forum, countries acknowledged the vital role and significant contribution of forests for achieving sustainable development and in addressing interconnected global challenges.

In this context, the forum welcomed the progress made on the implementation of the non-legally binding forest instrument but stressed that gaps still remained in implementing it further especially in low forest cover countries, LDCs, Small Island Developing States and African countries and emphasized the need to mobilize enhanced resources.

'UN Forest for People Awards'

The forum was also a host to an inspiring award ceremony for the “UN Forest for People Awards”.

Awards were given to people of all ages, from all over the world in three categories: “forest hero” award - which is attributed to those working in quiet but heroic ways to protect forests; - winning short film and winning photograph.

600 entries and nominations from 68 countries competed under these three categories.

Hayrettin Karaca, founder of TEMA and Atakan Baykal, forest engineer from Turkey also received awards under the forest hero and winning photograph awards respectively.


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