Forests and trees sustain life and underpin economies at all levels, and an estimated 1.6 billion people depend on them for food, shelter and income. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), between 65 and 80 per cent of the world’s people rely on medicines derived from forests as their primary health care. In addition, forested catchments supply three quarters of the planet’s freshwater supply, which is essential for agriculture, industry, energy supply and domestic use. Forests also help to combat climate change as they store more carbon than is in the atmosphere.
While the international community has pledged billions of dollars to forest-related activities in the context of climate change, greater action and resources are needed to reverse forest degradation and secure their existence for future generations. Currently, some 13 million hectares of forest are lost annually due to the conversion of the land to other uses or natural causes, and deforestation accounts for 12 to 20 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
The theme of the 2015 International Day of Forests (IDF) is Forests | Climate | Change, chosen purposely to highlight the ways in which forests and climate change are linked, and to rally global support for greater action and change.
This global celebration of forests builds on the successes of the International Year of Forests in 2011, and provides a platform to raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests and of trees outside forests.
A special event in celebration of the International Day will be held at United Nations Headquarters on Friday, 20 March 2015 (10:00 to 13:00) in the Economic and Social Council Chamber. The event entitled “International Day of Forests: Create a Climate Smart Future” will focus on showcasing forest-based solutions to climate change mitigation and adaptation, and sustainable development more broadly.
How will you celebrate the International Day?
Activities expected to take place on the 2015 International Day include tree-planting and other community-level events, and celebrations including art, photo and film as well as social media.
Governments, international, regional and sub-regional organizations, and relevant stakeholders are encouraged to share information on their planned activities for the International Day of Forests by contacting the UNFF Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join the global celebration of forests on social media by following twitter @UNDESA #IntlForestDay and #action2015.
The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 21 March the International Day of Forests. The Day celebrates and raises awareness of the importance of all types of forests. On each International Day of Forests, countries are encouraged to undertake local, national and international efforts to organize activities involving forests and trees, such as tree planting campaigns. Click here for the full text of the UN Resolution .