Integrating climate change issues into national forest programmes

September 20 - September 21, 2010 Host UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

The crucial role of forests in climate change mitigation and adaptation is now widely recognized at international level. Climate change will have major implications on the sustainable management of forests. In most countries, adjustments to forest policies, legislation and institutions will be needed to facilitate effective and equitable mitigation and adaptation measures. With regard to mitigation, countries may wish to amend forest policies to give more weight to forests' carbon sinks and storage functions. Similarly, steps may be needed at forest policy level to promote appropriate adaptation responses. The impacts of climate change on the provision of forest goods and environmental services are becoming increasingly evident in many parts of the world. Climate change is expected to pose a major challenge for the livelihoods of forest dependent people as well as forest product dependent sectors of the economy.

In many countries, forest policies and climate related policies are the competencies of different sections of government and involve different groups of stakeholders and experts. The exchange of information across administrative or sectoral boundaries on issues surrounding forestry and climate change is often limited. As a consequence, in many countries climate change issues have not been fully addressed in national forest policies, forestry mitigation and adaptation needs at national level have not been thoroughly considered in national climate change strategies, and cross-sectoral dimensions of climate change impacts have not been fully appreciated.

It is important that the forest sector devise ways to address mitigation and adaptation challenges and opportunities in national forest policies. National forest programmes have been recognised by the international dialogue on forests as the framework to put international agreements into practice and as the platform for addressing issues related to sustainable forest management, including climate change.

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