PH Affirms Commitment to Promote Sustainable Forest Managment

New York, 07 May 2018 – The Philippines reiterated its commitment to promote sustainable forest management by rehabilitating its degraded forest lands through the National Greening Program. This was the message of Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Assistant Secretary Ricardo Calderon at the opening segment of the 13 th Session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

In his statement, Assistant Secretary Calderon said that the National Greening Program of the Philippines aims to expand forest cover, mitigate and adapt to climate change, conserve biodiversity, poverty alleviation and inclusive growth while adhering to the principles of good governance. The National Greening Program has been extended until 2028, consistent with the Philippine Master Plan for Forestry Development and the Philippine National Development Plan.

Assistant Secretary Calderon also conveyed to the Forum that the success of the National Greening Program has yielded the rehabilitation of 1.8 million hectares of forests in 7 years, employing over 600,000 people in upland communities. Forest cover has also increased from 23% to 28%, and has resulted in more resilient, empowered and productive citizens.

Underscoring the Philippines’ commitment to advance the sustainable management of forests and trees in line with the United Nations Strategic Plan for Forests 2030, Assistant Secretary Calderon added that the Philippines will continue its efforts to integrate sustainable forest management into its national sustainable development policies, plans, strategies, and programs, provide an enabling environment to improve land tenure security and encourage forest-related investments, and strictly adhere to good governance and inclusive growth to ensure success of the country’s programs.

The UNFF is a high-level intergovernmental policy forum of universal membership and is composed of all United Nations Member States and Permanent Observers, the UNFF Secretariat, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, Regional Organizations and Processes and Major Groups.

The principal functions of the UNFF include facilitating implementation of forest-related agreements and foster a common understanding on sustainable forest management; providing for continued policy development and dialogue among Governments, international organizations, including major groups, as identified in Agenda 21 as well as to address forest issues and emerging areas of concern in a holistic, comprehensive and integrated manner; enhancing cooperation as well as policy and programme coordination on forest-related issues; fostering international cooperation; monitoring, assessing, and reporting on progress of the above functions and objectives; and strengthening political commitment to the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests.

The 13 th Session of the UNFF, which will run until 11 May 2018, is tasked to address implementation of the Strategic Plan and the Quadrennial Programme of Work, and means of implementation for Sustainable Forest Management (SFM). This Session will also provide input to the 2018 session of the High-level Political Forum (HLPF 2018) in July, particularly its consideration of SDG 15 to Protect, restore, and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

The Philippine Delegation to the UNFF was led by Ambassador Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. and Assistant Secretary Calderon, with representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the UN.

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