The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution on 28th November 2012, designating 21st March as the International Day of Forests. Hence the first International Day of Forests was observed on 21st March 2013; since then it is being celebrated annually to raise awareness about all types of forests and to protect them.
Various United Nations organizations like UNFF (United Nations Forum on Forests) and FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) facilitates the events. The agencies collaborate with governments, CPF (Collaborative Partnership on Forests) and other relevant organizations to celebrate the “International Day Of Forests”.
International Day of Forests 2019?
International Day of Forests 2019 was celebrated on Thursday, the 21st of March.
International Day of Forests 2019 theme was “Forests and Education – Learn to Love Forests”.
The day was celebrated to raise awareness on the importance of forest for maintaining the balance of the ecosystem and to provide a sustained development. This year the focus was made on raising awareness campaigns and educating people about forests and how it is a vital part of our planet.
Indian Council of Forestry Research & Education (ICFRE) held an event on the eve of International Day of Forests. The event was mainly focused on promoting the importance of education for the conservation of the forest and maintaining the biodiversity of a place. Famous environmentalists and scientists took part in the event and emphasized the need for education and introducing forestry the curriculum of schools.
Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding (IFGTB) organized an event at Gass Forest Museum, Coimbatore. The event ‘Learn to Love Forests’ showcased the importance of conservation of forests and its importance for the environment. The event also included various exhibitions related to botany, plants, timber, etc.
International Day Of Forests – History
The Food and Agriculture Organization had been making persistent efforts since four decades before the establishment of “International Day of Forests”, towards raising awareness about the benefits of forests and their conservation.
Back in November 1971 during the 16th conference of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the member states voted to designate 21st March as “World Forestry Day”, as an annual event.
During 2007 – 2012, six forest days were organized by CIFOR (Centre for International Forestry Research) as an outcome of United Nations Climate Change Conferences under the framework of UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change).
The CIFOR conducts research on forestry in more than 50 countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia and is Head Quartered at Bogor, Indonesia.
These events were organized by CIFOR in close coordination with CPF (Collaborative Partnership on Forests). The CPF was established in 2001 and constitutes a group of 14 international organizations working on forests and secretariats and functions to support the works of UNFF (United Nations Forum on Forests).
The UNFF Secretariat declared 2011 as the “International Year of Forests” in collaboration with other relevant organizations like CPF and other governments.
Taking note of the International Year of Forests 2011, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution on 28th November 2012 designating 21st March for annual observation of “International Day of Forests”.
Why Is “International Day Of Forests” Celebrated?
“International Day Of Forests” is celebrated to raise global awareness about all kinds of trees and forests and to educate people about their usefulness.
Forests play a significant role in our ecosystem and sustain human life as well as provide a livelihood. They also help in climate regulation, reducing pollution, containing floods, maintaining water resources. Forests also provide food and shelter to innumerable species of animals, birds, and insects; maintaining and developing biodiversity.
Forests are a source of many vital resources for billions of people; mainly in developing countries. They provide food, medicine and other means of livelihood often generate jobs through tourism.
Unfortunately, the world is losing forests as a consequence of population growth and the need for rapid urbanization. Deforestation is an immediate and also a global threat faced by forests today.
According to a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization, we are losing 7 million hectares of forest land globally; mostly to the expansion of agriculture land. What’s more concerning is that we are left with only 4 – 5 Billion Hectares of forested land, which will soon diminish if the things continued the same way.
Deforestation leads to many fatal effects on climate, biodiversity, ecosystem and other related causes. It also accounts for 20% of total greenhouse emission causing elevated global warming.
Apart from other benefits forests play an essential role in attaining the United Nations goals of Sustainable Development by 2030. Goals like no poverty, no hunger, good health and well being, affordable and clean energy, climate action and striking ecological balance among others, are somehow directly or indirectly related to the state of forests.
The SDG Goal Number 15 itself mentions “sustainable maintenance of forests”, “Combat deforestation” and “halt Biodiversity Loss”.
Due to the persistent efforts of the UN and other allied organizations on forests, the destruction of forests has reduced considerably in recent years.
“International Day of Forests” is very important from the point of view of raising global awareness about forests and their preservation as well as for achieving SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) by 2030.
How Is “International Day Of Forests” Celebrated?
“International Day of Forests” is observed globally by the governments and other relevant organizations to raise awareness about forests and their conservation.
United Nations work with governments to organize events like tree plantation, forest visits and lectures and debates on forests and related issues. Various non-government organizations, common people and communities also organize events at the grass-root level.
The most common event on the “International Day of Forests” is a tree-planting ceremony. Many tree-planting ceremonies are held in the United Nations’ offices and offices of other governments and non-government establishments, across the globe. Many schools, colleges, communities and also individuals organize or take part in the ceremonies.
The role of forests in preserving biodiversity and maintaining ecological balance is highlighted through lectures, speeches, and other similar events.
The severe impacts of deforestation on climate, livelihood and natural resources are assessed and methods to alleviate them are discussed, around the globe.
Meetings are organized by the governments to increase stakeholders and mobilize required resources to further the cause of Forests preservation and Goals of Sustainable Development. Various private and philanthropic organizations are encouraged to donate for the cause and boost up the resources for “Sustainable Maintenance of Forests” as per SDG-15.
“International Day Of Forests” and Sustainable Cities 2018
“The International Day of Forests” 2018 was celebrated on Wednesday, 21st March 2018. The theme for International Day Of Forests 2018 was “Forests and Sustainable Cities”.
The event was observed globally to raise awareness about the significance of all types of plants and trees in our cities and their surroundings and the way they protect and sustain us.
Advantages of trees in combating the issues of urban areas like – unexpected local climate, air pollution, noise pollution, etc were stressed upon. Various events were organized to inform people about the benefits of trees for the local population – providing fruits, nuts, medicines, etc apart from sustaining life and providing employment.
The usefulness of forests in preservation and replenishment of natural freshwater resources for the cities and also their role in containing floods and causing rains was highlighted. Advantages of forests, trees, and plants in making cities beautiful and prosperous were also talked about on “International Day Of Forests 2018”.
“International Day Of Forests” Celebrations In India
“International Day of Forests” is celebrated all over India by planting trees, organizing lectures and other relevant events. Many governments, non-government, local communities and local individuals take part in the celebrations.
Events are also organized at the Delhi Head Quarters of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India. Senior Ministry Officials address to the general public and school children, telling them about the advantages of trees and forests and that they must be protected at any cost.
The general public is informed about the government’s plans and policies for the protection and preservation of forests and thus about achieving Sustainable Development.
During the Celebrations of “International Day Of Forests” 2018, children from schools and communities presented “Prakriti Vandana” (a prayer praising nature) and a play to highlight the importance of forests.
Many prize distribution events were also organized and posters launched to raise awareness about forests.
How To Celebrate “International Day of Forests/World Forestry Day”?
There are numerous ways in which you could celebrate “International Day of Forests” or “World Forestry Day”. Some of the suggestions are listed below for your convenience. The theme of the upcoming “International Day of Forests 2019” – “Forests and Education” is also considered while giving suggestions.
The best way to enhance your own knowledge as well as to raise awareness about an issue is through discussions. Discuss with your family, friends, and colleagues on a variety of issues like – present state of forests; possible threats to the existence of forests; methods to be adopted to save forests and advantages of forests in sustaining life and maintaining biodiversity. Such discussions are bound to have a positive outcome on the participants, making them more sensitive towards the cause.
2) Visit the Woods
Drive through the nearby forest or just take a casual walk. Admire the natural beauty of the forest and the lives that it sustains. Relish the serenity and acknowledge the role forests play in giving peace, tranquility and inner joy. Assess the situation when there would be no forests left. Where would you go to find peace; away from the noise, pollution and busy schedules of city life? Also, acknowledge the fact that the forest provides peaceful asylum from all the disadvantages of city life.
3) Enhance your Knowledge
Since the theme of the “International Day of Forests 2019” is “Forest and Education”; it enhances your knowledge about forests and everything related to them. Read a book that teaches you about the benefits of locally found plants and trees. Know about their medicinal properties and fruits they produce. Also educate yourself about the means of livelihood they provide to your fellow citizens in the form of fruits, nuts, timber, and other products.
4) Organize or Join Events
Many governments, as well as non-government organizations, facilitate numerous events on “International Day of Forests”. You can locally organize an event on your own or could join another event by a different organizer. Events like tree plantation, debates and discussions could be easily organized to raise awareness. Such events don’t have the infrastructure and other constraints and even a single person could easily organize them, with help from a few dedicated volunteers.
5) Give Presentations
Since the Theme of “International Forest Day 2019” is “Forests and Education”; you can give presentations in your school, college, office or community to educate people about the usefulness of forests and the role they play in sustaining life. A simple presentation doesn’t require much financial or logistical support; rather it will require only your willingness and the interest of the audience. It is also the best way to educate your audience about forests and raise their awareness.
6) Plant a Sapling
If you don’t have enough time to visit the forest, join an event or for a presentation – plant a tree. As simple as it sounds! You could fetch a sapling of your choice on your way back home and plant it. Plant it at a suitable place in your locality and inspire others to do the same. If you don’t find any suitable place in your community, plant it in your backyard. Where ever you plant it, it will only be a treasure for you and your future generations.
7) Teach The Children
Teaching the children about forests and related issues will be justice to this year’s theme of “International Day Of Forests” – “Forests and Education”. Children are the future of society and nation; it is in their hands that the future of forests lies. Therefore, to admire the planet’s green cover and to preserve it; it is important that they are taught about its benefits and various roles forests play in sustaining life, ecological balance, and biodiversity.
Take the children of your community or a nearby school to a forest or garden in proximity and let them admire nature. If you want you could also hold a debate with children on various topics related to forests. Whatever you do on “International Day of Forests 2019”, you can also inform the FAO (United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization) on – IDF@fao.org.
8) Go Paperless
A million hectares of forests are chopped down annually to meet the demands of paper industries. Paper industries thrive on the demands from our offices, schools and other similar establishments. For every paper that you use, a tree had been compromised to produce it and another too will face the axe when you further raise the demand. Though it is not possible to let go of the use of paper completely, you can use it judiciously; opting for a paper only when there is no alternative.
9) Save Trees
There could be a little sapling or a tree in your community that is dying due to lack of water or other causes. Identify such trees in need and garner support from locals to help revive them. You can also take help from a botanist or agriculture expert form your locality. There might be an old tree planned to be chopped down by a road or electricity department contractor. Request the contractor or authorities to get an alternate plan. Even if bringing down the tree is necessary, ask those responsible to plant new trees in return.
10) Join Social Media Discussions
In the 21st century, there is no such event or celebration which is not highlighted on social media. Social media is the best way of communication for people separated by thousands of kilometers and it’s also the fastest way to raise awareness. Whatever activity you undertake on “International Day of Forests 2019”, don’t forget to post its pictures or videos on your social media accounts. You can also join the debate, give opinions, and raise concerns on – #IntlForestDay.
What Is “International Day of Forests 2019” Theme?
The theme for “International Day of Forests 2019” is “Forests and Education”. The aim of the celebrations will be to improve education about forests in order to achieve Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
Other Year’s “International Day of Forests” Themes
The annual themes for International Day of Forests are assigned by CPF (Collaborative Partnership on Forests); an organization constituted to support all types of forests and promote their sustainable management.
- International Day Of Forests Theme 2019 was – “Forests and Education – Learn to Love Forests”.
- International Day Of Forests Theme 2018 was – “Forests and Sustainable Cities”.
- International Day Of Forests Theme 2017 was – “Forests and Energy”.
- International Day Of Forests Theme 2016 was – “Forests and Water”.
- International Day Of Forests Theme 2015 was – “Forests and Climate Change”.
- International Day Of Forests Theme 2014 was – “My Forest, Our Future”.