GEF Presents SFM Program at UNFF10

GEF16 April 2013: On the sidelines of the tenth session of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF10), the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) presented its program on sustainable forest management (SFM), highlighting the multiple benefits of forests for a resilient global environment.

During the debate, GEF underscored the importance of a separate funding window of $250 million, about 40 per cent already utilized, to enhance forest financing. These resources became available through the GEF's fifth funding replenishment cycle (GEF-5), valid from July 2010 to June 2014. The ultimate goal is to reach $1 billion in investment in forests covering three focal areas: biodiversity, climate change and land degradation.

Despite no universally agreed-on definition for SFM, the GEF supports the UNFF's definition, which states that “sustainable forest management as a dynamic and evolving concept aims to maintain and enhance the economic, social and environmental value of all types of forests, for the benefit of present and future generations.” The SFM portfolio aims primarily to reduce pressures on forest resources, while promoting forest ecosystem services and the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.

According to the GEF-5 strategy, all types of forests are eligible for funding under the SMF/REDD+ program. The GEF-5 portfolio is expected to enlarge the spectrum of SFM management tools, to include "protected area creation and management, integrated watershed management, certification of timber and non-timber forest products, payments for ecosystem services (PES) schemes, financial mechanisms related to carbon, development and testing of policy frameworks to slow the drivers of undesirable land-use changes, and work with local communities to develop alternative livelihood methods to reduce emissions and sequester carbon." [GEF Press Release] [GEF SFM/REDD+] [IISD RS coverage of UNFF10]