Transformative partnerships: Adding value, delivering together

13 Feb 2023

Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director-General, FAO and Chair of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests.
Robert Nasi, Director-General of CIFOR and Managing Director of CIFOR– ICRAF and Vice-Chair of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests.

Partnerships are crucial to accelerate progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as highlighted by SDG 17, which focuses on global partnerships and the mobilization of financial resources.

No single organization has the mandate, power or resources to deliver alone transformative, systemic change. It is only by bringing together governments, intergovernmental organizations, farmers and producers, civil society, scientists, academia and the private sector that we can mobilize and scale up the technology, innovation, financing and capacity development needed to address today’s complex and interconnected global problems.

This is especially true for the challenges facing forests and for strengthening the contributions of forests and trees to the achievement of the SDGs. Forests offer vital ecosystem services, economic opportunities and are home to much of our terrestrial biodiversity. Today we need to take a triple approach on conservation, restoration and sustainable use of forests.

But halting deforestation, restoring forests and changing the way we manage land requires transdisciplinary collaboration and integrated solutions. The complexity of the direct and indirect drivers of deforestation calls for a combination of innovative policies and regulatory frameworks, private and public leadership, citizen-led movements, appropriate finance, knowledge generation and exchange of experiences, and technical and technological cooperation. No single organization can deliver these alone.

Successful transformative partnerships must be based on trust, built and developed between partners. In addition, to fully benefit from the comparative advantages of different partners, each one needs to look beyond their specific contribution to how it will fit into the wider effort. In this spirit, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) aims to add value and deliver together.

The Collaborative Partnership on Forests

The CPF was created in 2001 as part of the International Arrangement on Forests, which also established the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) – a high-level intergovernmental policy forum that aims “to promote the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests and to strengthen long-term political commitment to this end.”1

The CPF is an informal, voluntary arrangement among 15 international organizations and secretariats that have substantial programmes on forests. CPF members have a shared vision of a world where “by 2030 all types of forests and forest landscapes are sustainably managed, their multiple values are fully recognized, the potential of forests and their goods and services is fully unlocked, and the Global Forest Goals, the SDGs and other global forest-related goals, targets and commitments are achieved.”2

To support countries to achieve these aims, the CPF effectively enhances coherence and synergy on forest-related issues and values among its members.3 Chaired by FAO and with partners from conventions, financial institutions, intergovernmental agencies with a focus on forestry, environment and conservation, and research organizations, the CPF is in a unique position to drive transformational change.

Adding value and creating impact across policy areas

Forests can be a driving force in tackling climate change, food insecurity and biodiversity loss. The CPF is working to show forests can provide solutions to some of the most pressing issues on the global agenda. Among its achievements is the streamlining of global reporting on forest resources, strengthened collaboration on sustainable wood value chains to enhance social, economic and environmental benefits, and stronger forest education. Under the joint initiative Green Finance for Sustainable Landscapes, the CPF boosts bank and investor interest to increase capital flows towards forest and landscape restoration, forest education and practices that would decouple agriculture from deforestation.

The CPF further focuses on forest and landscape restoration, forest communication, scientific information and finance facilitation to help countries design national forest financing strategies, and it supports grassroot leaders through the Wangari Maathai Forest Champions Award.

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