KKL-JNF at the 12th Annual United Nations Forum on Forests

Thursday, May 04, 2017

The twelfth convention of the Forum is taking place in New York is focusing on the implementation of the United Nations’ Strategic Plan for Forests.

As an internationally recognized leader in the fields of afforestation in semi-arid regions, combatting desertification, and more, KKL-JNF represented Israel at the twelfth United Nations Forum on Forests that is taking place in New York from 1st-5th of May.

The United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) is an international forum for forest policy. Members in the forum include all member states of the United Nations, observers, the forum secretariat and a number of forestry-related organizations. The forum was founded in the year 2000 by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The twelfth convention of the Forum, which is taking place in New York from May 1-5, is focusing on the implementation of the United Nations’ Strategic Plan for Forests (UNSPF), and is putting an emphasis on alleviating poverty, ensuring food security and gender equality.

KKL-JNF Chief Forester Dr. David Brand said that “as part of KKL-JNF’s international activities and participation at international forums, Johannes Guagnin, Foreign Relations and Research Coordinator for KKL-JNF’s Afforestation Department, took part in UNFF 12. We worked very closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Israeli delegation to the United Nations, and thanks to their help, Johannes delivered a lecture on Israel and KKL-JNF’s achievements in the fields of forestry and afforestation at the conference.”

Thirty percent of the earth’s surface is covered by forests that provide food, income and clean air for the planet’s inhabitants. However, the forests are under threat from unsustainable practices, the impact of climate change, and rapid urbanization. UNFF 12 has an ambitious target – to increase forest area by 3% by the year 2030. The goal is to ensure that the world’s forests will continue to stay healthy for the present and future generations.

Johannes Guagnin began his address to the Forum by noting that the State of Israel takes great pride in its forests. “As a small state with very limited natural resources and a low average rainfall,” he said, “Israel faces challenges that greatly affect our forests, such as soil erosion and desertification. We have always recognized the value of well-managed forests -and over the years, we have become a laboratory for innovative forestry. As a result of both academic and field research, Israel has accumulated extensive knowledge and experience, and has developed advanced practical methods for combating desertification, implementing afforestation in semi-arid regions, and ecological services of forests for the benefit of social and economic development in the country.

“Through active policies of afforestation, rehabilitation and sustainable forest management, Israel turned its barren lands into flourishing forests that are open for all to enjoy. Our forests also play an important role in economic development and poverty reduction in peripheral areas and provide vital employment opportunities across socio-economic sectors - in ecotourism, forest maintenance and upkeep.

“As we implement the Global Forest Goals, we must continue to work together to address global challenges.  Countries that never experienced desertification before are starting to feel its impact. Israel has developed techniques to manage forests in the context of climate change, and we have been sharing our expertise and conducting technical capacity building programs. MASHAV -Israel's Agency for International Development Cooperation - has been working with many countries across the world to share Israel’s know-how in agriculture, forestry and food security in the face of climate change.

“KKL-JNF also works to share its expertise in combating desertification, integrated pest management, and afforestation and watershed management, with many countries, including Montenegro, Malta, Germany, Kazakhstan, South Africa, East Timor and Turkey. We recognize that the challenge of climate change cannot be addressed by any single country. Only knowledge-sharing and cooperation will pave the path towards a sustainable future,” Johannes concluded.

All of KKL-JNF’s international activities, including participation at UNFF 12, are with the assistance and cooperation of the KKL-JNF Resource Development and PR Division and the KKL-JNF Director of International Relations and Conferences, Karine Bolton-Laor.