The United Nations General Assembly declared 2011 as the International Year of Forests to raise awareness on conservation, sustainable management and development of all types of forests. World Environment Day this year will reinforce this global concern with the official tagline Forests: Nature at Your Service.
Forests cover one third of the earth’s land mass, performing vital functions and services around the world, with 1.6 billion people depending on forests for their livelihoods. They play a key role in our battle against climate change; they feed our rivers and are essential to supplying the water for nearly 50% of our largest cities; they create and maintain soil fertility; they help to regulate the often devastating impact of storms, floods and fires.
Splendid and inspiring, forests are home to more than half of the terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects, vital to the survival of people. They provide shelter, jobs, security and cultural relevance for forest-dependent populations.
To celebrate World Environment Day, you are cordially invited to a special roundtable targeting People and the Social and Economic Value of Forests. This roundtable will be followed by a reception offered by the Swiss government and the local authorities.