|For the future of our planet, the global consciousness of the importance of saving our forests must transform into action: forest protection through sustainable development is essential. The official launch of the International Year of Forests, on February 2, 2011 at the UN Headquarters in New York, is reaching out to each and every one of us.|
“Every one of us, all seven billion people on earth, has our physical, economic and spiritual health tied to the health of our forest ecosystems,” noted Jan McAlpine, the Director of the Forum’s Secretariat. “Throughout 2011, we will celebrate this intricate, interdependent relationship between forests and people,” she said. At least 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their daily livelihoods and subsistence needs, and over 60 million people, mainly members of indigenous and local communities, who reside in forests.
This year is not only about raising awareness, it is also about celebrating the value of this important resource: we must realize to what extent forests are essential to the lives of populations. Managed sustainably, forests will play a role in climate change mitigation, by regulating CO2 emissions, and they provide timber, medicines and livelihoods for people worldwide.
The Fondation Chirac applauds this international initiative that will give strength to the importance of forest preservation, as well as sparking in-depth discussions on issues relating to the preservation and management of forests.
Amongst the other projects of the Fondation, all guided by the vision of conflict prevention, the program against deforestation and desertification led by Managing Director, Bastien Sachet is based on research and concerted actions. He highlights the importance “the impact our consumption habits have on the forest.” The global agricultural demand (palm oil, soy beans) is directly linked to agricultural expansion, which currently the main cause of deforestation.
The way we see it, looking at the issue of forests touches many other domains, including food security, in a world where 923 million people suffer from hunger (according to the FAO in 2010), a number that has been growing for years.
In fact, preserving biodiversity also includes peoples and cultures that are equally threatened. The Sorosoro Association, supported by the Fondation, works for cultural preservation. Preserving the environment does not make much sense if we do not take it upon ourselves to also defend those who live in certain threatened areas.
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