High-level dialogue on turning the tide on deforestation


Forests are a major, requisite front of action in the global fight against catastrophic climate change – thanks to their unparalleled capacity to absorb and store carbon. Stopping deforestation and restoring damaged forests, together with other land-based actions, could provide up to 30% of the climate solution. Nevertheless, deforestation remains shockingly high and intractable without major policy and institutional reforms and corresponding governance and financing support in most countries. Agricultural expansion is responsible for over 70% of deforestation, making halting deforestation a complex task that requires taking action outside the forest sector, notably transforming agriculture and food systems.

In light of the key role of forests in fighting climate change, biodiversity loss and poverty, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is hosting a High-Level Dialogue on “Turning the tide on deforestation” as part of the 25th Session of the Committee on Forestry. The high-level dialogue will provide a platform for ministers, private sector and civic society representatives as well as other stakeholders to discuss solutions to turn the tide on deforestation, for the benefit of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, ensuring food security and tackling climate change.

Date: Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Time: 10:00 – 11:30 AM CEST

Languages: The event will be held in English, with simultaneous translation in Arabic, Chinese, French, Spanish and Russian.


Speakers: The High-Level Dialogue will be opened by FAO Deputy Director-General Ms Maria Helena Semedo.

The Right Honourable Lord Zac Goldsmith, Minister of State, Minister for Pacific and the Environment, United Kingdom, will set the scene for the discussion.

The high-level panel will be composed of ministers representing three Regional Forestry Commissions (RFCs):

  • Her Excellency Siti Nurbaya Bakar, Minister of Environment and Forestry, Indonesia;
  • His Excellency Virginijus Sinkevičius, EU Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries;
  • Her Excellency Jeanne Ilunga Zaina, Vice Minister, Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, the Democratic Republic of the Congo;

Commentary will be provided by:

  • Ester Asin, Director, European Policy Office, WWF International;
  • Justin Adams, Executive Director, Tropical Forest Alliance – World Economic Forum.
  • German (Jerry) Velasquez, Director, Mitigation and Adaptation Division, Green Climate Fund (GCF)

Closing remarks will be provided by Mette Wilkie, Director, Forestry Division, FAO.

The panel will be moderated by Tim Christophersen, Coordinator, Nature for Climate Branch, UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

The Dialogue will provide strategic directions for FAO’s work to support its member states to undertake transformative actions to turn the tide on deforestation – particularly in the context of addressing deforestation in an integrated manner across agricultural value chains, tackling climate change, and in directing finance to a forest-friendly post-pandemic economic recovery. It will also provide guidance to FAO, the Committee on Forestry and member states in implementing the UN Decades of Action on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), on Family Farming and on Ecosystem Restoration.

For more information about the event, please contact:

Astrid Agostini

REDD+/National Forest Monitoring Cluster Coordinator

FAO Forestry Division


Malgorzata Buszko-Briggs

Senior Forestry Officer, FAO

REDD+ Team Leader

FAO Forestry Division


Kristin DeValue

Forest and Land Governance Specialist

FAO Forestry Division


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