The President of ECOSOC, Pakistani Ambassador Munir Akram, has called for global action to halt illegal deforestation

The President of UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Pakistani Ambassador Munir Akram, has called for global action to halt illegal deforestation, as forests provide essential ecosystem services, water, accessible energy, sustain human well-being and livelihoods.

“It is self-evident that we must stop the process of deforestation,” Ambassador Akram said in his opening remarks at a webinar on “Forests: at the heart of a green recovery from COVID-19”.

“Major reforestation plans are required,” he said, while noting that some South Asian countries were already taking steps in that direction through their national agencies.

Through a national programme, Ambassador Akram said a process was underway in Pakistan to plant billions of trees over the next three years.

The programme, he said, had also created employment and job opportunities for unskilled labour, counteracting the challenge posed by the COVID crisis, which had caused unprecedented human suffering and pushing around 100 million people into extreme poverty, dependence on forests for livelihood is expected to increase.

In this regard, the ECOSOC president underlined the need to incorporate the adaption of reforestation into the poverty alleviation programmes of national governments.
“This is a priority area for the Pakistan presidency of ECOSOC,” he said.

In addition, Ambassador Akram said there was need to use advance technologies, including the drones, for observation and application of solutions to forest and agricultural problems.

To do all that, he said, providing financing remained the key to achieving sustainable management of forests, and ECOSOC could help mobilize resources for the developing countries.

“I hope to utilize the forum of Economic and Social Council to promote these activities and these objectives in the coming months.”

The article is originally published at APP