Forests Asia Summit 2014: Join the debate

2 May, 2014 by (comments)
Aerial view of a river meandering in northern Papua, Indonesia. Photo credit: Mokhammad Edlaidi for Center for International Forestry Research CIFOR.

Aerial view of a river meandering in northern Papua, Indonesia. Photo credit: Mokhammad Edlaidi for Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

The two-day Forests Asia Summit opens on Monday next week, 5th May  in Jakarta, Indonesia, with a keynote speech delivered by Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. With more than 2,000 people registered to attend, the event looks set to be the biggest debate in years on the future of Southeast Asia’s forests and landscapes.

Southeast Asia has become the world’s largest source of greenhouse gases from land-use change, yet the majority of the region’s rural population depends on climate-sensitive sectors such as agriculture – the primary driver of deforestation in the area. Agricultural expansion threatens the region’s tropical forest and many ecosystem services they provide.

The Summit – organized by CIAT’s sister center the Center for International Forestry Research and co-hosted by the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry – will bring together government ministers, civil society, development experts and top scientists to focus on accelerating the shift towards a green economy, bringing down emissions through sustainable forest and landscape management.

Five broad themes will steer discussions: governance and legal frameworks to promote sustainable landscapes; investing in landscapes for green returns; climate change and low emissions development on the ground; forest landscapes for food and biodiversity; changing communities, sustainable landscapes and equitable development.

Integrating biodiversity, conservation agro-ecology and forests in political and scientific discourse on agricultural production is expected to be a key focus, as well as encouraging more holistic landscape approaches which embrace the importance of nutrition and diversity in animal and human diets.

Debate is also expected to elaborate on the clear relationships between multi-use landscapes and dietary diversity, and current food security models which many argue are leading to “feast or famine” scenarios, particularly at the expense of natural ecosystems.

Biodiversity, food systems and the bigger picture

In Southeast Asia, food insecurity is more about poverty and access than it is about wider food availability. Food insecurity is driven by low incomes and high food prices, and especially among the urban poor and landless rural poor, it is access to high-quality, nutritious food that is lacking.

New research recently published by CIAT, the Global Crop Diversity Trust, and several university partners, shows that in the past five decades in Asia, as around the world, human diets have grown ever more similar, with worrying consequences for human health and agriculture’s resilience in the face of climate change.

In much of Asia, caloric intake is below the recommended daily amount and many people suffer from micro-nutrient deficiencies, in particular iron, vitamin A, zinc and iodine. Diabetes and heart disease have increased dramatically, leading to the double burden of over- and under-nutrition.

Confirmed speakers at the Summit include Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri, chairman of the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and Manuel Pulgar-Vidal: Peru Minister of Environment; President of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s 20th Conference of the Parties.

 Follow the Summit live:

Via CIAT’s news blog and Twitter account @CIAT_ and at these other official outlets. Join the debate via Twitter using the #ForestsAsia hashtag.

Watch the Forests Asia Summit live here. Live video feeds in English and Indonesian start at 10 a.m. Jakarta time (UTC +7 hours) on Monday 5 May and at 9 a.m. Jakarta time (UTC +7 hours) on Tuesday 6 May.

Click here for the full live streaming schedule. 

Filed Under: Agro-ecology and Economics @en, Asia @en, Climate Change, Climate Change website, Inside CIAT, Soils