Environment

When and Why is International Day of Forests Celebrated?

International Day of Forests is celebrated on March 21st each year.

The International Day of Forests, also known as the IDF, is an important day that is used to raise the awareness of the world on the importance and use of trees, and to celebrate how trees support human life. The day is celebrated every year on March 21 after a resolution was passed by the UN General Assembly on November 28, 2012. Every year, there are different events that are carried out in different parts of the world to mark the day by all the member states of the United Nations. For instance, in 2018, the day was marked by events all over the world such as a tree planting campaign in Uganda, radio celebrations in Argentina, training programs in Madagascar, and several other events in the world. The events are usually organized by the United Nations Forum on Forests working alongside the Food and Agriculture Organization work in collaboration with governments. The very first day the International Day of Forests was on March 21, 2013.

Background

At least a third of the earth’s land is covered by forests. Science has made it abundantly clear that forests are crucial to the survival of more than 1.5 billion people around the world and more than 80% of terrestrial species of flora and fauna. However, around 32 million acres of forests are lost every year. To put this figure into perspective, forest cover equating roughly to the size of England is lost every year. As these forests get destroyed, so do the animals that had made a habitat in the forest.

The most apparent problem that this loss presents is climate change, especially global warming. Studies have shown that between 12% and 20% of the world’s carbon emissions are a consequence of deforestation. This percentage range is almost on the same level as the emissions from the global transport sector. The establishment of the celebration on March 21 helps to prioritize sustainable management of all kinds of woodlands for the benefit of all the present and future generations.

International Day of Forests Resolution

Resolution A/RES/67/200 was adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 12, 2012. Aside from the declaration that March 21 is to be marked as the day of forests worldwide, the resolution also seeks to encourage member states to come up with plenty of events for the day. These activities may be anything ranging from tree-planting to any kind of media outreach. The resolution also requests the different stakeholders to work together in order to make the day a success.

IDF 2018

The theme for the year 2018 was “Forests and Sustainable Cities.” Several messages were conveyed by UN and world leaders that sought to reinforce the importance of forests to the world. Some of the key messages include:

• Forests are crucial to the storage of carbon which in turn keeps a check on climate change.

• The local climate of a place is also improved by trees which in turn reduces energy used for heating by between 20% and 50%.

• Energy for air conditioning can be reduced by 30% if trees are planted strategically in urban areas.

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