UN looks to International Year of Forests, decade on biodiversity

The UN moved to raise awareness about saving forests with an International Year of Forests in 2011.

New York: The UN moved this week to raise awareness about saving forests around the world with an International Year of Forests in 2011, beginning a decade focused on global biodiversity.

The 2010 International Year of Biodiversity`s closing ceremony was held last week in Kanazawa, Japan, attended by Ahmed Djoghlaf, executive secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

As we look forward to the 2011 International Year of Forests and the 2011-20 United Nations Decade on Biodiversity, let us maintain and accelerate the momentum this past year has generated," UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in a message read at Kanazawa.

"Let us continue working to ensure that life on Earth will persist in all its diversity and complexity, for the benefit of present and future generations."

Ban said the International Year of Biodiversity was designed to ensure sustainability of the world`s plant and animal species. Thousands of events were held in dozens of countries to demonstrate people`s "enthusiasm" for the preservation of biodiversity.

The UN said that biodiversity is crucial in the campaign to end poverty, expand development and achieve human security.

In November, the Japanese government held a summit on biodiversity in Nagoya, where delegates adopted the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, which will guide national strategies and enhance cooperation among developing countries.

At the climate change conference in Cancun, Mexico, governments agreed on plans to save forests. Deforestation is responsible for 20 percent of the world`s greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to global warming.

"By promoting the conservation and sustainable management of forests we can not only mitigate climate impacts and increase resilience but go a long way towards slowing the accelerating rate of biodiversity loss," the UN said.