On 26 April 2021, during the High-Level Roundtable of the 16th Session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF16), DENR Assistant Secretary for Policy, Planning and Foreign Assisted and Special Projects, and concurrent FMB Director, Marcial C. Amaro, Jr., reaffirmed the Philippines’ commitment to continuously promote Sustainable Forest Management towards the achievement of the six (6) Global Forest Goals and to strive to go beyond reforestation as we mark the start of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.
The Assistant Secretary and concurrent FMB Director also shared how the pandemic has affected the forestry sector which resulted in the temporary suspension on the transportation of all forest products throughout the country; slow-down in the production of forest products; delay in the implementation of various programs and projects; and limited mobility of forestry personnel in the delivery of services.
Despite these challenges, the forestry sector has been actively involved in addressing the impacts of the pandemic to the country. The DENR Regional Offices, in partnership with Department of Agriculture counterparts, used the Mechanized and Modernized Forest Nurseries (MMFN) facilities for agricultural production to ensure food security during the community quarantine. As of December 2020, MMFN produced around 3.206 million vegetable seedlings and distributed 1.554 million vegetables seedlings to LGUs, communities, and people’s organizations affected by the pandemic. The sector also donated a total of 271,641 board feet of confiscated lumber to government agencies and institutions for the construction of covid-19 quarantine facilities and quarters.
The UNFF16 will continue to run until 30 April 2021 for the technical discussions on the implementation of the UN Strategic Plan for Forests. The Philippine delegation, headed by Assistant Secretary and concurrent FMB Director Amaro, is composed of representatives from the Philippine Mission in New York and FMB Executive Committee.