FAO has called for transformational change aimed at addressing food security, agriculture and forestry. "It is possible to reconcile food security, agriculture production and forest conservation," said Qu Dongyu, FAO director-general at a dialogue on "turning the tide on deforestation" on the margins of COP25.
To this end, FAO is working with countries to coordinate land use approaches across sectors, ensuring integrated management of forests and agriculture so that both food security and forestry objectives are met.
Dongyu pointed out that a number of countries have managed to reduce the number of undernourished people and improve agricultural productivity while maintaining or increasing their forest area.
Agriculture is a significant contributor to deforestation (over 70%), and with rising population and food demands, forests are increasingly under pressure.To address this, Dongyu put forward solutions such as:
• The need to forge an agreement on reducing the footprints of agricultural commodities, especially livestock and cash crops,
• Boosting technology and innovation, and
• Strengthening partnerships to address forest-related issues.
FAO, for example, has developed an innovative set of forest monitoring tools allowing users to access and process large amounts of forest data and satellite images directly on their mobile phones.
Qu listed several successful global, FAO-supported initiatives tackling deforestation, climate change, food insecurity and poverty that could be scaled up.
These include the UN-REDD Programme, the Sustainable Wood for a Sustainable World, the Great Green Wall, and the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.
Qu also announced the release of FAO's Global Forest Resources Assessment's key results in 2020 – an important resource to guide forestry policy across the world and ensure that decisions are based on evidence.