Forests and trees make vital contributions to both people and the planet, bolstering livelihoods, providing clean air and water, conserving biodiversity and responding to climate change.

The forest cover of the world has further declined - mainly due to deforestation in Latin-America and Africa.

(FAO) Achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is a commitment made by countries to tackle the complex challenges we face, from ending poverty and hunger and responding to climate change to building resilient communities, achieving inclusive growth and sustainably managing the Earth’s natural resources.

"We have greater evidence on how forests are critical to livelihoods of the world’s poorest, with a better understanding of the trade-offs and more exact confirmation that healthy and productive forests are essential to sustainable agriculture."
José Graziano da Silva, FAO Director-General

As governments determine how best to commit national efforts to achieve transformational change, The State of the World’s Forests 2018 (SOFO 2018) analyses the role that forests and trees – and the people who use and manage them – can play in helping countries achieve their objectives and bring about a brighter future. SOFO 2018 shines a light on the profound interlinkages that exist between forests and many other goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda, enabling policymakers to strike the right balance in actions, investments and partnerships directed towards food security, poverty alleviation, ecological conservation and, ultimately, to find pathways to sustainable development.

Forests act as a source of food, medicine and fuel for more than a billion people. In addition to helping to respond to climate change and protect soils and water, forests hold more than three-quarters of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity, provide many products and services that contribute to socio-economic development and are particularly important for hundreds of millions of people in rural areas, including many of the world’s poorest.

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To accomplish the historic ambition of ending hunger and poverty and transforming to a sustainable world, the 2030 Agenda expects sectoral ministries to change the way they work and to coordinate policies across government.

Actions on forests, agriculture, food, land use, rural and national development must synchronize in the future if sustainable development is to be realized. Although drivers vary significantly between countries and regions, policymakers must recognize the need to manage trade-offs and set out concrete measures for better aligning multiple objectives and incentive structures. This integrated approach is critical for progressing towards the SDG targets. Establishing SDG implementation platforms composed of key sectors in natural-resource use and management is one way of managing cross-sectoral coordination and overcoming difficulties in governments that have sector-based ministries and agencies, with their own resource allocations and accountability arrangements. SDG implementation platforms would bring together different ministries and government agencies with other key stakeholders working in dialogue and coordinated action, with a focus on achieving the SDGs and benefitting from interlinkages, identifying and addressing barriers to change and monitoring progress.

The State of the World's Forests 2018

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