Environment and EcologyGeneral Studies III

The Global Forest Goals Report 2021: UN Report


The Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations has released the Global Forest Goals Report 2021.

Findings of the Global Forest Goals Report 2021:

  • Firstly, the report finds that the world is making progress in key areas such as increasing global forest area through afforestation and restoration.
  • Secondly, the Covid-19 pandemic has aggravated the challenges faced by countries in managing their forests.
  • Thirdly, forests have been a lifeline for millions of people during the pandemic. Some of the most vulnerable segments of society depend on forests for their most essential subsistence needs. This has increased pressures on forest systems.

About Global Forest Goals Report 2021:

  • It is the first evaluation of the global status of implementing the United Nations Strategic Plan for Forests 2030.
  • Purpose: The report provides an overview of progress towards achieving the United Nations Strategic Plan for Forests 2030. The plan has six Global Forest Goals and 26 associated targets for forests.
  • Data: The report draws upon data from 52 voluntary national reports and 19 voluntary national contributions. Together they represent 75% of forests in the world.

United Nations Strategic Plan for Forests 2017-2030 (UNSPF):

  • The first-ever UN Strategic Plan for Forests was adopted at a special session of the UN Forum on Forests held in 2017.
  • The plan contains a set of six Global Forest Goals and 26 associated targets to be reached by 2030. All these are voluntary in nature and universally applicable.
  • It also includes a target to increase forest area by 3% worldwide by 2030. This is an increase of 120 million hectares, an area over twice the size of France.

The Six Global Forest Goals are:

  • Goal 1: Reverse the loss of forest cover worldwide. This is by adopting sustainable forest management, including protection, restoration, afforestation and reforestation.
  • Goal 2: Enhance forest-based economic, social and environmental benefits. This includes improving the livelihoods of forest-dependent people.
  • Goal 3: Increase significantly the area of protected forests worldwide and other areas of sustainably managed forests.
  • Goal 4Mobilize significantly increased, new and additional financial resources from all sources. This is for the implementation of sustainable forest management and strengthening scientific and technical cooperation and partnerships.
  • Goal 5: Promote governance frameworks to implement sustainable forest management.
  • Goal 6: Enhance cooperation, coordination, coherence and synergies on forest-related issues at all levels.

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Biodiversity Crisis:

  • Among its many findings, the ‘Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services’ of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) highlighted that one million species were at risk of extinction and that 100 million hectares of tropical forest were lost from 1980 to 2000.
  • At the same time, climate change is jeopardizing the resilience of forest ecosystems and their ability to support ecosystem services worldwide.
  • Though forests offer nature-based solutions to overcome these concurrent global challenges, they have also never been more at risk.


  • The resilient recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic along with responses to the climate and biodiversity crises must be rooted in the world’s forests.
    • Forests and forest-dependent people are both a casualty and an important part of the solution.
  • Sustainably resourced and managed forests can bolster employment, disaster risk reduction, food security and social safety nets, for starters.
  • Forest can also protect biodiversity and advance both climate mitigation and adaptation.
  • With regard to global health, safeguarding and restoring forests are among the environmental actions that can reduce the risk of future zoonotic disease outbreaks.
  • The report called for a future course of action that included greater sustainability and a greener and more inclusive economy to tackle the threats of Covid-19, climate change and the biodiversity crisis faced by forests.

Status of World Forest

  • Total Forest Area: According to the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2020 (FRA 2020) report, the world’s total forest area is 4.06 billion hectares (bha), which is 31% of the total land area. This area is equivalent to 0.52 hectares per person.
  • Top Countries in Forest Cover—the Russian Federation, Brazil, Canada, the United States of America and China constituted more than 54% of the world’s forests.

Forest in India

  • According to the India State of Forest Report, 2019, the Total Forest and Tree cover is 24.56% of the geographical area of the country.
  • Forest Cover (Area-wise): Madhya Pradesh> Arunachal Pradesh> Chhattisgarh> Odisha> Maharashtra.
  • National Forest Policy of India, 1988 envisages a goal of achieving 33% of the geographical area of the country under forest and tree cover.

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