Not Too Late to Undo Forest Damage, Secretary-General Says, in Message for International Day, while Warning ‘We Risk a Point of No Return’

Heritage Stewardship

Not Too Late to Undo Forest Damage, Secretary-General Says, in Message for International Day, while Warning ‘We Risk a Point of No Return

19 March 2021
Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for the International Day of Forests, observed on 21 March:

Humanity’s well-being is inextricably linked to the health of our planet.  Forests play a crucial role.

Forests filter the air we breathe and the water we drink.  They regulate our climate, absorbing one third of the global greenhouse gases emitted each year. Forests provide habitat to 80 per cent of all known terrestrial species, many of which are under threat.  Today, more than 1 million of the planet’s estimated 8 million plant and animal species are at risk of extinction.  Some 1.6 billion people depend directly on forests for food, shelter, energy, medicines and income.

Despite all that they provide, forest loss continues at an alarming rate.  We continue to lose 10 million hectares of forests, an area roughly the size of Iceland, every year.  Deforestation also increases the risks of infectious disease outbreaks and pandemics.

This year marks the beginning of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, which calls for action to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of forests and other ecosystems.

If we fail to act now, we risk a point of no return.  But it is not too late to undo some of the damage we have caused.  The crises our planet faces require urgent action by all — Governments, international and civil society organizations, the private sector, local authorities and individuals.

Indigenous peoples are leading the way.  They care for the Earth’s biodiversity and achieve conservation results with very few financial resources and little support.

On this International Day of Forests let us plant the seeds for a sustainable future by committing to restore and conserve our forests for the benefit of people and the planet.


International Organization for Standardization (ISO)  [to 20 Mar 2021]
By Clare Naden on 19 March 2021

International Day of Forests
Healthy forests for a healthy planet.
ISO 38200, Chain of custody of wood and wood-based products, facilitates sustainable forestry through enabling the traceability of wood products. It provides reassurance to customers of wood suppliers that products come from legally harvested sources along the whole supply chain, thus encouraging the use of sustainable wood and deterring illegal methods.

Also contributing to the restoration of forests is ISO 14055-1, Environmental management – Guidelines for establishing good practices for combatting land degradation and desertification – Part 1: Good practices framework, which provides good-practice guidelines for tackling land degradation and desertification in arid and non-arid regions…