UN Forum on Forests 18 addresses Aral Sea region issues

     The representatives of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Country Office in Uzbekistan and other FAO staff participated at the 18th session of United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) that took place at UN headquarters in New York. The UNFF 18 discussed the implementation of, and progress on, the UN Strategic Plan for Forests (UNSPF) 2017-2030.  The meeting reviewed the contributions of Member States, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), which FAO chairs, regional and subregional organizations, as well as the contributions of major groups and other relevant stakeholders.
     At the forum, FAO Forestry Officer Ekrem Yazici stressed the importance of integrated forest, land and water resource management in the face of climate change in Aral Sea Region. As he noted, water availability and quality, afforestation, land restoration and forest-based livelihood support are essential to increase resilience to climate change and other challenges.
     FAO supported the participation of a delegation from Uzbekistan at the forum FAO, World Bank, UNECE, the Canadian Forest Service, and the Forest Management Institute of the Czech Republic organized a side-event chaired by Uzbek delegation. The event was attended by over 100 stakeholders from UN member states, representing academia, research institutions, NGOs.
     Participants at the side-event learned about the activities carried out in Uzbekistan for ensuring environmental protection highlighting achievements of the ongoing ambitious nationwide planting campaign “Yashil Makon,” and of afforestation works on the Aral Sea dried bottom. Notably, the total surface of protected nature areas in Uzbekistan has increased by 10% since 2016.
     Paola Agostini, Director of the World Bank’s Regional Department for Natural Resources, shared details about a new reforestation project in Uzbekistan worth USD 142 million.
     Side event participants received an invitation to a number of high-profile UN events to be held in Samarkand in October this year.
     It is important to note that FAO played an important role in the 18th session of the UN Forum on Forests. FAO provided specific technical inputs on the preparations for the Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) 2025, updates on the implementation the UNSPF Communication and Outreach strategy, and the International Day of Forests, and a joint statement on behalf of the 16 members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, including the announcement of the theme for the International Day of Forests 2024. FAO also contributed to a panel discussion on forests, energy, and livelihoods.


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