Andrew Taber

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has launched call to action on forest education.

The action was launched and opened for endorsement at the International Conference on Forest Education held virtually from 22 to 24 June 2021.

The action does not represent an officially negotiated outcome, nor does its endorsement entail any legal obligations or financial commitment.

It is a collective call by stakeholders worldwide for immediate action to strengthen forest education, capacity building and knowledge sharing.

It focuses on eight key actions required to improve formal, informal forest education and training programmes worldwide.

These include; Strengthen policies and strategies to improve forest learning at all levels of education and training; improve the image of forest careers among youth and the general public and build more holistic understanding of forests inclusive of social dimension.

Others are; foster greater understanding of forests and forest careers in primary and secondary education, enhance the quality of education of university and vocational forest education and increase investments in forest education.

The rest are; revitalize and expand continuing education, extension and informal learning of forest and strengthen forest education stakeholders engagement and partnership.

Stakeholders in forest education are invited to endorse the Call to Action.

For instance, policy makers, forest, environmental educators and students, non-governmental organizations, community-based, Indigenous People’s organizations, the private sector, and regional and international organizations are encouraged to endorse the call.

The Call to Action is the culmination of an 18-month Global Forest Education Project effort to assess the status and needs of forest education, training and knowledge.

FAO launches call to action on forest education for public endorsement

The conference participants stressed that robust forest education and training must build the skills and knowledge needed to maximize the contributions of forests and trees to the Sustainable Development Goals.

It is also to achieve the Global Forest Goals and contribute to UNESCO’s Education for Sustainable Development for 2030 agenda.

Assistant Director of Operations to International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), Sheam Satkuru said the ITTO is fully supportive of the joint Collaborative Partnership on Forest (CPF) initiative on forest education.

Sheam Satkuru said, they are ready to work with the leading agencies of the initiative and support both CPF. and non-CPF partners by working together to drive transformational forest change.

“We invite all to join this initiative which will better equip the younger generation,” she explained.

Team Leader for Social Forestry at Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation (FAO), Andrew Taber, stated that FAO recognizes robustness and capacity building for forest education.

According to Andrew Taber, FAO will establish partnerships with like-minded organizations for forest education.

Executive Director for International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) also stated that forest education has always been a priority for IUFRO’s global effort.

Alexander Buck says, “Strengthening forest education globally requires large and international efforts.”

According to him, IUFRO will lead efforts to facilitate global access to forest education resources.

On the last day of the conference, participants agreed that, there is the need to promote sustainable action, and that forest education should be local and adapt to local contexts.