PEFC Stakeholder Dialogue 2016: Bridging the gap between sustainable forestry and food security

From left: Moderator & CEO Ben Gunneberg from PEFC International, Dr Terry Sunderland of CIFOR and Dr Sadanandan Nambiar (formerly from CSIRO).

As about one billion people in the world rely on forests for consumption and income, and around half of the world’s food production comes from diverse smallholders in the agriculture eco-system, this year’s PEFC Stakeholder Dialogue explores the role of forest certification and sustainable supply chains to promote sustainable landscapes for sustainable livelihoods.

Set in vibrant Bali, the Dialogue also underscores the importance of forests and its impact on food security, nutrition, gender and climate change.

Non-timber forest products, for instance, provide 30% of the income in many poor households in several regions, hence, the value that forests bring begets the question of how forestry can be managed sustainably for rural livelihoods and future generations.

At the keynote session, Dr Terry Sunderland from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and Dr Sadanandan Nambiar (formerly from Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)) shared their perspectives on bridging the gap in order to find optimal solutions across productive land uses, environmental and development priorities.

Dr Sunderland said that forests are the key to food security as it provides income and food during off-season farming and studies have also suggested positive correlation between nutrition and abundant forests. He also delved on CIFOR’s 10-year strategy (2016 – 2025), which envisions “a more equitable world where forests and landscapes enhance the environment and well-being for all”, and stressed the need for stakeholder engagement to manage landscapes and drivers of change.

However, the need to do so is encountered with two challenges, according to Dr Nambiar: perennial poverty in rural communities and climate change mitigation. He emphasised that any form of mitigation is unacceptable and unsuccessful if it is at the expense of the economy and livelihoods.

Complex bureaucracy, politics, governance and high transactional costs are also factors that will inhibit progress, “Forests are invaluable for people but are there services to help the poor out of the poverty cycle?,” asked Dr Nambia.

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