24 January – 2 February 2011

Statement by Ahmad Rajabi

Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran

on the Livelihoods and poverty Eradication,

Forest for People and Means of Implementation

at the Ninth Session of the United Nations Forum on Forests

( 24 January – 2 February 2011, New York)

          Allow me to express to you and the Bureau members my congratulations on your elections the chairman of the UNFF9. I would like to associate my delegation with the statement made by Argentine on behalf of G-77 and China.

          Mr. Chairman,

Rate of deforestation, land degradation and desertification exacerbate chronic poverty and pose serious challenges for the countries, especially developing countries, to achieve sustainable forest management, Global objectives on forests and MDGs. In this regards, Low forest cover countries (LFCCs) are among vulnerable countries that are particularly susceptible to land degradation leading to desertification.  Taking into account that Forests provide multiple economic, social and environmental benefits and sustainable management of forests contributes significantly to sustainable development.

Forests contribute to the livelihoods of at least 1.6 billion people, in creation of job and expansion of trade. Forest industries, both formal and informal, employ 50 million people. Ten million new “green jobs” can be created by investing in sustainable forest management.

Mr. Chairman,

Adequate financial resources, capacity building, and transfer of environmentally sound technologies for developing countries, based on their needs and priorities, remain critical to ensure the implementation of forest related policies at national and international levels. The importance of the means of implementation to achieve sustainable forest management has been highlighted in the non-legally binding instrument on all types of forests (forest instrument), and a specific section of this historic agreement is devoted to the means of implementation. As a matter of fact, the forest instrument provides a sound framework for regulating and organizing more effectively the international cooperation on forests, in particular in regard to means of implementation.

The prime obstacle to sustainable forest management in developing countries is inadequate funding. These financial gaps can only be addressed by dedicating resources to support the implementation of the forest instrument, and the achievement of its global objectives on forests. There is a common view that financing for sustainable forest management is currently not adequate. It is perfectly obvious that we need for a mechanism that would provide new and additional financial resources, while also mobilizing existing funding from different sources.

Mr. Chairman,

Setting appropriate mechanisms at national, regional and international levels contribute to the realization of SFM. Bearing in mind, that the Islamic Republic of Iran hosted first session of Low forest Cover Countries with the support of considerable number of developed and developing countries as well as UNEP and FAO, in 1999 in Tehran. Participants launched Tehran process initiative. This Process is supposed to assist low forest cover countries ( LFCCs) to take concerted efforts towards sustainable forest management and take actions for rehabilitation and conservation of forests in those countries. In this connection, I would like to inform you that the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has decided to host an expert-level workshop with cooperation of UNFF Secretariat as a part of the forest financing project in SIDS and LFCCs. workshop is scheduled to be held from 2 to 8 September 2011 in Tehran.  The LFCCs deserves particular recognition and assistance in the final outcome of the UNFF9 on financing sustainable forest management. I am confident that the ongoing efforts of the LFCC category, with especial ecological conditions and fragile forest ecosystems, will enjoy adequate support and encouragement from the international community.

Seventy one countries are characterized by low forest cover, with less than 10% of their land area covered by forests. The population of developing LFCCs exceeds 850 million people, of which 470 million (55%) are rural dwellers depending heavily upon agriculture, fisheries and forest resources for their livelihoods. LFCCs are particularly prone to the impacts of climate change, desertification, land degradation, and deforestation. The accumulative impacts of these environmental degradations bring significant socio-economic losses to these countries, severely affecting the livelihood of vulnerable, in particular the poor.

Mr. Chairman,

Before conclusion, I would like draw your attention to the interaction of forests and climate change that is very complex. In this relation, arid and semi-arid regions deserve more consideration in UNFF9.  Forests currently contribute about one-sixth of global carbon emissions when they are cleared, overused or degraded. Forests react sensitively to a changing climate; when managed sustainably. Forests produce woodfuels as an alternative to fossil fuels. Forests have also the potential to absorb about one-tenth of global carbon emissions projected for the first half of this century.

Forest and climate change can not and should not be considered in isolation and regardless of other environmental challenges, or irrespective of the three pillars of sustainable development. We should consider the link between forests and climate change as a window of opportunity to create a holistic approach in which climate change and forests are addressed in an integrated manner.

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