UNFF, Turkey Sign Host Country Agreement for UNFF 10

24 January 2013: The UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) and the Government of Turkey have entered into a Host Country Agreement, in which Turkey makes specific arrangements for the forthcoming tenth session of UNFF (UNFF 10). UNFF 10 will take place from 8-19 April 2013, in Istanbul, Turkey.

The agreement was signed by Wu Hongbo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, and Yasar Halit Çevik, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the UN. During the signing ceremony on 24 January 2013, in New York, US, Wu recognized UNFF as the only intergovernmental platform providing policy advice and regional and international management of forests. Wu highlighted the importance of the session's theme, "economic development and forests," for the ongoing intergovernmental processes leading to the post-2015 development agenda.

Çevik noted that UNFF 10 will be the first UNFF conference held outside UN premises. He expressed Turkey's “deep commitment” to the issues of forestry and development. Turkey will provide resources for holding the conference in Istanbul, as well as for the participation of delegations from developing countries, according to the press release.

Jan McAlpine, UNFF Director, highlighted the Forum's universal membership; it consists of all 193 UN Member States. The meeting will be historic, she said, with UNFF becoming the first subsidiary body of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) to meet in Turkey.

In addition to the main theme for UNFF 10, the meeting will place focus on financing for forests, and McAlpine said without ways to more effectively mobilize financing, many countries will fail to achieve UN agreements on sustainable forest management. Finally, she highlighted the first-ever International Day of Forests, being observed this year on 21 March.

The UN Department of Public Information notes that forests presently cover nearly 31% of the global land area, and that the forest sector contributes US$468 billion annually to global gross domestic product (GDP). [IISD RS Sources] [UNFF Website] [UN-DESA coverage]