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“Safeguarding forests is essential for sustainable management of global freshwater resources and avoiding water shortages, according to United Nations officials and forest experts at an event today marking the International Day of Forests. The observance day, held annually on 21 March, was commemorated at the UN at a panel discussion called “Forests and Water: Sustain Life and Livelihoods,” sponsored by the UN Forum on Forests Secretariat, UN-Water and the Permanent Mission of Sweden.

By 2025, some 1.8 billion people will face absolute water scarcity, and even greater numbers will deal with water stressed conditions. Three-fourths of the freshwater that people use every day, comes from forested catchment areas. Around 1.6 billion people worldwide depend on forests for their basic needs of food, medicine, fuel, energy and income. The environmental services that forests offer, in terms of improving the quality of air, water and climate, are global goods that benefit all.

“The world’s forests are essential to realizing our shared vision for people and the planet,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message for the International Day. “They are central to our future prosperity and the stability of the global climate. That is why the Sustainable Development Goals call for transformative action to safeguard them.”

The global community recognises the importance of water and forests in the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 6, about water and sanitation, and Goal 15, about the protection of biodiversity. Additionally, Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said at the observance event Monday that these vital resources are important for all of the seventeen goals. Recognising the close interlinkages between water systems and forest ecosystems, Wu added that the successful implementation of forests and water-related goals and targets would necessitate integrated and coordinated approaches across the two sectors…”

Read on at: UN Sustainable Development Goals

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For more information, please visit:

UN Forum on Forests website: http://www.un.org/esa/forests

The Sustainable Development Goal Indicators website http://unstats.un.org/sdgs