South Africa Minister calls for the recognition of the link between forests and food security

20 September 2011 | Article
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South Africa Deputy Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Honourable Rejoice Mabudafhasi, has called on governments, civil society organizations and communities in Eastern and Southern Africa to manage the region’s forests wisely in order to support people’s livelihoods. She made the remarks when she opened the 2011 IUCN Regional Conservation Forum today in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The forum was organised by IUCN in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture, Forests and Fisheries; the Department of Environmental Affairs and the African Forest Forum with support from the Australian Government. The forum was part of IUCN’s celebration of the International Year of Forests.

Deputy Minister Mabudafhasi noted that with the changes in climate, the world’s food security is highly vulnerable due to increased variation of rainfall which impacts on the agricultural production and availability of food. “We recognize that forests play a major role in reducing the level of greenhouse gases and thereby assist in mitigating the impacts of climate change,”noted Deputy Minister Mabudafhasi. “Forests also play a critical role in food security, economic development and poverty alleviation.”

Through the Regional Conservation Forum, IUCN has convened IUCN Members, government agencies, NGOs, United Nations bodies and other international cooperating partners, academic and research institutions; and the business sector to actively engage in discussions around the link between Forests, food security and finance in a changing climate. Also present at the Forum, was former IUCN President, Valli Moosa.

Speaking at the Forum, the Deputy Director General of IUCN, Poul Engberg-Pedersen noted that forests are a reliable source of food in most parts of the world and encouraged delegates to reflect on how forest management can be effectively financed.

The outcomes of this Forum will enable governments and other players to contribute meaningfully to global processes such as the Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP) in Durban, the Rio + 20, the United Nations Forum on Forests and the World Conservation Congress and other national, regional and global processes.

For more information, please contact Hastings Chikoko, Head, Constituency Support Unit, Eastern and Southern Africa on hastings.chikoko@iucn.org
 


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