Forests, trees, and green spaces play a vital role in ensuring a healthy life for all on a global scale. This is one of the key messages of the global assessment titled “Forests and Trees for Human Health: Pathways, Impacts, Challenges and Response Options,” launched by the Global Forest Expert Panels Programme of the International Union of Forest Research Organization (IUFRO).
There is growing evidence that nature, particularly forests, contribute to physical and mental well-being and can notably improve human health. Forests maintain well-being, provide resources and services such as food and air purification, and potentially reduce exposure to environmental diseases and other hazards. However, the relationship between forests and human health is complex, as evidence also shows that forest-proximate communities are more prone to zoonotic and infectious diseases, which are often exacerbated by forest degradation and encroachment.
The International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) initiated a global scientific assessment on forests and human health in July 2021, in the frame of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF)’s Global Forest Expert Panels (GFEP) initiative. The assessment aims to provide reliable and synthesized scientific information, to utilize synergies and achieve optimal trade-offs between human health, and the conservation, restoration, and sustainable management of forest ecosystems, their biodiversity (including wildlife), as well as trees in other land-uses. The report and the accompanying policy brief also present response options relevant to the policy context at various levels.
Launched on 21 March 2023, the assessment will contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by highlighting the nexus between SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being and SDG 15: Life on Land, as well as relevant links to other SDGs. It will provide input to several intergovernmental forums, including the 2023 session of the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development and the 18th session of the UN Forum on Forests.
Funding for IISD’s Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) coverage of this event has been provided by IUFRO.
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