Forests are essential for achieving many of the Sustainable Development Goals. With their rich ecosystem services, they provide livelihoods, food and energy, store carbon and host more than 80% of terrestrial biodiversity. Current and future generations need to learn about and understand forests and their benefits in order to ensure that they are in a position to sustainably manage these precious resources.
However, in recent years international fora have raised concerns that forest education is often insufficient, deteriorating and outdated, leading to a lack of awareness and understanding of forests. Furthermore, primary and secondary educational institutions rarely include forest topics in their changing curricula, and fewer young people are studying forestry at university or college.
Additionally, forests are under great stress in many parts of the world due to climate change, biodiversity loss and increasing population pressure. Forest education is therefore confronted with new and complex challenges, such as how to understand competing demands for land, the role of land tenure and rights, and the need to find new ways to adapt vulnerable forest ecosystems to climate change and to respond to increasing demands from rapidly growing populations.
This international conference, co-organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) and ITTO, in collaboration with other members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), and with generous support from the government of Germany, will discuss ways forward for forest education. Discussions and recommendations will inform a strategic vision to enhance forest education and training methods globally.
As forest education takes place in diverse forms and fields, the conference aims to bring together the broadest possible range of stakeholders, including participants from scientific and educational institutions, government ministries and non-governmental organizations, as well as representatives of the private sector and students.
Conference participation is by invitation only. If you are interested in attending, please send an email to: Forest-Education@fao.org
Dr Tetra Yanuariadi
ITTO Division of Trade and Industry