Highlights from the UN Forum on Forests — #UNFF10 — in Istanbul

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Most people don’t live in, or even near, a forest. While it is true that 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihoods, for most people, forests are out of sight, out of mind.

And yet if people had to pay for what forests provide,  for wood, paper, clean water, clean air, biodiversity, it would amount to a pretty penny, and this is at the heart of the discussions now taking place at the United Nations Forum on Forests in Istanbul, Turkey.

Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, put it this way at the opening of the Forum: “We must all see and understand that if the process we call growth and development continues in this way, will not have a liveable world.” Citing a Native American saying, he added, “when all the trees are cut, all animals are hunted, all waters are polluted and the air becomes unbreathable you will understand that money is something that you cannot eat.”

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, says the Forum is meeting “at a critical time”.  He said the vital issues forests influenced – from livelihoods to biodiversity and climate change – had been highlighted in the outcome of Rio+20 and would be considered during negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda.

Under-Secretary-General Wu Hongbo
Under-Secretary-General Wu Hongbo
Forum Chair Mario Ruales Carranza (Ecuador)
Forum Chair Mario Ruales Carranza (Ecuador)

International Forest Short Film Festival – Winners

The Forests Secretariat partnered with the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival to honor creative efforts of filmmakers who visually capture how forests inspire, shelter, nurture and contribute to our lives. This year’s Film Festival is for short films of five minutes or less. The winners of the Film Festival include Rowan Pybus of South Africa, Paul Rosolie of the United States, Elio Alonso Vasquez Miranda of Peru, Sébastien Pins of Belgium, and Dan Childs and Nick Werber of the United Kingdom. More information on the winners can be found here.
Special items from the UN News Centre:

More than 20 million people tuned in to watch Ban Ki-moon on Weibo

Behind-the-scenese with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and TV host  Yang Lan who hosted his Weibo conversation in China.  Credit: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

One of the first things Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon did on his most-recent visit to China was to hold an online conversation with Sina Weibo followers.  Sina Weibo is a popular Chinese microblogging platform which has over 350 million registered users.

After starting the conversation by introducing himself in Chinese, Mr. Ban answered 20 questions from Weibo users, selected from the 16,000-plus questions submitted ahead of and during the event on topics such as Rio+20, China-Africa cooperation and the role of social media.

So far, Weibo estimates the conversation attracted the attention of at least 20 million of internet users.

he then answered around 20 questions selected from the more than 16,000 questions submitted by Weibo followers

The United Nations account on Sina Weibo, updated several times a day in Chinese, has more than two million followers and many young people in China see the account as a great way to learn about United Nations.

The conversation was facilitated by TV host Yang Lan  who expect to feature it on an upcoming episode of the her programme  “Yang Lan One-on-One” show, which is seen by nearly 900 million people around the world.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon signs a guest book for TV host Yang Lan. Credit: OSSG

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with Sina Corporation CEO  Charles Chao. Credit: OSSG

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