Hi there! I am Pragyan, a student in the Sustainable Tropical Forestry Master program. Since the Earth Summit in 1992, it has been realized that the achievement of sustainable development requires an active participation of people from all corners of the society. This resulted in the adoption of Agenda 21, which broadly categorized these people into different groups, formally known as Major Groups. There are 9 Major groups who act as the main channel to ensure broader participation within the UN and its activities on sustainable development. The 9 Major groups (MGs) are: Women, Children and Youth, Indigenous Peoples, Non-Governmental Organizations, Local Authorities, Workers and Trade Unions, Business and Industry, Scientific and Technological Community and Farmers. The Major Groups-led Initiative (MGI) in support of the UN Forum on Forests 15 (UNFF15) took place from March 3-5 at the United Nations Office in Nairobi (UNON), Kenya. I was part of the IFSA delegation that represents the Major Group for Children and Youth (MGCY) in UNFF along with 5 others at this event.
This year’s central topic was “Cross-Sectoral Collaboration for Inclusive Forest Landscape”. As MGs are the essential stakeholders, it is imperative that they be part of the discussion on cross-sectoral approaches for landscape management. The MGI aimed to create an enabling environment for the exchange of knowledge, experience and more importantly, for fostering partnerships. These were done to better facilitate the implementation of the United Nations Strategic Plan on Forest (UNSPF) 2017-2030, including the 6 Global Forest Goals (GFGs).
The first day began with the introduction of the participants and their expectations from the MGI. They discussed their possible contributions to UNFF15 whilst also presenting their ongoing work. The MGs also discussed their planned activities for the International Day of Forests 2020 on the theme Forest and Biodiversity. The 2nd day brought Dr. Musonda Mumba (Chief, Terrestrial Ecosystems Unit – TEU, UN Environment Programme) who provided a wonderful insight on the interlinkages between cross-sectoral collaboration, UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and civil society contributions. This UN Decade that comes into effect from January 2021 would need huge commitments from all the stakeholders, including civil societies, indigenous peoples, youths and farmers. There were presentations by the MGCY on their plan of work and all the MGs worked to elaborate their best practices, carefully highlighting key challenges along the way. These were done in order to provide contributions in shaping the UNFF Quadrennial Programmes of Work (4POW) 2021-2024, which represents the Forum’s operationalization in the implementation of the UNSPF.
Participants got further inputs from Dr. Carrie Waterman (UC Davis and ICRAF) where she presented her work around using Moringa tree as a tool for improving inclusive landscape conservation and livelihoods improvement in Africa. The final day of the Major Group-led Initiative (MGI) at the United Nations Office Nairobi successfully reached a final consensus on the overall scheme of the MG report 2020 that would be submitted on behalf of all the Major Groups at the UNFF15 in May 2020.
UNFF MGCY played a central role in designing this year’s MGI, as well as facilitating the event. I also made a brief video (below) showcasing the diversity amongst the representatives of all the major groups and their expectations from the event. Presentations, discussions and especially interactive sessions made it possible for all Major Groups to reflect on their situations, as well as develop clear visions, demands and concrete actions for Cross-Sectoral Collaboration towards Inclusive Forest Landscapes.
I would like to acknowledge the support of IFSA and thank them for including me in this delegation. A special note of gratitude to Celina Schelle, Frederik Buchholz, Steffen Dehn, Misaki Takahashi and Amaitum Joshua Elukut, the other delegates of the MGCY.
By Pragyan Raj Pokhrel