World's forests "destroyed, degraded and depleted:" General Assembly president

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The Selm Muir Forest of West Lothian, Scotland. UN Photo/Robert Clamp

"Decades of unsustainable use" have "destroyed, degraded and depleted" much of the world's forest, said the President of the UN General Assembly on Monday.

Peter Thomson was speaking on the opening day of the new session of the UN Forum on Forests, which promotes the management, conservation and sustainable development of the world's trees.

Jocelyne Sambira reports.

The General Assembly President said that the world's forests were "fundamental to humanity's on-going place on this planet" as they were home to 80 per cent of all land-based species of animals and plants.

He said around 1.6 billion people depended on forests for their livelihoods, including around 70 million Indigenous, who have long been "stewards of these lands".

"Despite forests being essential to the balancing of the global ecosystem, to maintaining human well-being and to achieving sustainable development, decades of unsustainable use and management have destroyed, degraded and depleted enormous quantities of the planet's natural forest. To this day 13 million hectares of forests continue to be lost each year. The reasons for this deforestation are multitudinous by they are all largely driven by human activity."

Mr Thomson said that the adoption of the first ever UN Strategic Plan for Forests by the General Assembly last week, was a critical step towards stopping degradation and deforestation.

The plan represents a global framework he added, to protect and sustainably-manage forests, as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the International Arrangement on Forests.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’21″

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