• English

UN Deputy Secretary General celebrates the International Day of Forests in Geneva

Amina J. Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General, Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary of UNECE and Malgorzata Golińska, Secretary of State of the Polish Ministry of Environment celebrated the International Day of Forests on 21 March 2019 at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, under the theme Learn to Love Forests with a forest food breakfast and handicraft workshops from the State Forests of Poland, a long-time partner of the UNECE on forest work, and toured the “Paper Cave”.

The UN Deputy Secretary-General received an ecosystem in a jar from Malgorzata Golińska. “We thought of distributing small forest ecosystems in a jar today to remind people of the many functions that forests have in our lives, from water purification to providing sustainable materials”, said Malgorzata Golińska.

“Understanding our forests and keeping them healthy is crucial for our future. Forests have a vital role to play”, explained Olga Algayerova. “Yet, increasingly, people around the world become detached from forests, living and working in cities, and forgetting about the importance of forests and trees for our wellbeing and the wellbeing of the planet”, she continued.

The Paper Cave exhibition showcases innovative wood-derived products of the future: printed electronics on a greeting card, cutlery from wooden fibers which can be recycled up to 7 times, a ventilation system for airplanes which is made out of cardboard, stronger than spider silk biobased material which consists of nanosized cellulose fibres and innovative packaging materials made from post-consumer waste such as used coffee cups.

These products of the future can help to address major challenges society faces such as raw materials depletion, climate change, and plastic pollution.

This can support the shift to the circular economy, helping to create a system minimizing pollution and waste, prolonging product-life and materials cycles, and regenerating natural resources – driving progress on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12 on sustainable production and consumption, also contributing to SDGs in several other areas.