Monday, 18 July 2016

UN calls for better coordination between agriculture and forestry

The United Nations has today emphasised an urgent need to promote 'more positive' interactions between agriculture and forestry to build 'sustainable agricultural systems' and 'improve food security.'
The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) explains forests play a major role in sustainable agricultural development through a host of channels, including the water cycle, soil conservation, carbon sequestration, natural pest control, influencing local climates and providing habitat protection for pollinators and other species.
"The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as the Paris Agreement on climate change, recognizes that we can no longer look at food security and the management of natural resources separately," said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva in his opening remarks to the Committee on Forestry.
"Both agreements call for a coherent and integrated approach to sustainability across all agricultural sectors and food systems. Forests and forestry have key roles to play in this regard.
"The key message from is clear: it is not necessary to cut down forests to produce more food," he added.
Global agriculture accounts for the lion's share of the conversion of forests, but on the flip side of the coin, the UN stresses that forests serve many vital ecological functions that benefit agriculture and boost food production.
'Cross-sectoral' coordination of policies
"Food security can be achieved through agricultural intensification and other measures such as social protection, rather than through expansion of agricultural areas at the expense of forests," said Eva Müller, Director of FAO's Forestry Policy and Resources Division.
"What we need is better cross-sectoral coordination of policies on agriculture, forestry, food and land use, better land use planning, effective legal frameworks, and stronger involvement of local communities and smallholders."
She added: "Governments should provide local communities not only with secure land tenure but also with secure forest tenure rights.
"A farmer knows best how to manage his or her own resources but often lacks legal instruments to do so."

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