27 November 2018
Sustainable forest management is essential to achieving sustainable development. Forests have a significant role in reducing the risk of natural disasters. At the global level, forests mitigate climate change through carbon sequestration, contribute to the balance of oxygen, carbon dioxide and humidity in the air and protect watersheds. Investing in forests and forestry represents an investment in people and their livelihoods. Worldwide, around 1.6 billion people - including more than 2,000 indigenous cultures - depend on forests for their livelihood.
A discussion with two Right Livelihood Award (widely known as the 'Alternative Nobel Prize') Laureates took place at the International Environment House on Tuesday 27 November.
The Burkinabé Yacouba Sawadogo is known as “the man who stopped the desert”. Starting around 1980 during a phase of severe drought, he has successfully created an almost 40-hectare forest on formerly barren and abandoned land. Today, it has more than 60 species of trees and bushes and is arguably one of the most diverse forests planted and managed by a farmer in the Sahel.
The Australian agronomist Tony Rinaudo is known as the “forest maker”. Having lived and worked in Africa for several decades, he has discovered and put in practice a solution to the extreme deforestation and desertification of the Sahel region. With a simple set of management practices, farmers regenerate and protect existing local vegetation, which has helped to improve the livelihoods of millions.
About the Right Livelihood Award
The Right Livelihood Award was established in 1980 to “honour and support courageous people and organisations offering visionary and exemplary solutions to the root causes of global problems”. It has become widely known as the 'Alternative Nobel Prize' and there are now 174 Laureates from 70 countries.
The Right Livelihood Award is not an award for the world’s political, scientific or economic elite, but an award for the people and their work and struggles for a better future. The Laureates come from all walks of life: they are farmers, teachers, doctors, or simply, concerned citizens. The Right Livelihood Award accepts proposals from everyone through an open nomination process.
A Celebration of the 2018 ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’ Laureates, hosted by the Graduate Institue, took place Monday 26 November at the Maison de la Paix.
Mario BOCCUCCI, Head, UN-REDD Programme Secretariat
Paola DEDA, Chief, UNECE/FAO Joint Forestry and Timber Section
The event was live on the Geneva Environment Network facebook page.
> Bonn Challenge: The Bonn Challenge is a global effort to bring 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded land into restoration by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030.