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Preface: Connecting the Dots

With the establishment of the Global Forest Expert Panels (GFEP) initiative in the year 2007, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) created an international mechanism which effectively links scientific knowledge with political decision-making on forests. The GFEP responds directly to key forest-related policy questions by consolidating available scientific knowledge and expertise on these questions at a global level. It provides decision-makers with the most relevant, objective and accurate information, and thus makes an essential contribution to international forest governance.

This book is based on the report entitled “Forests, Trees and Landscapes for Food Security and Nutrition” which presented the results of the fourth global scientific assessment undertaken so far in the framework of GFEP. Previous assessments addressed the adaptation of forests and people to climate change; international forest governance; and the relationship between biodiversity, carbon, forests and people. All assessment reports were prepared by internationally recognised scientists from a variety of biophysical and social science disciplines. They have all been presented to decision-makers across relevant inter-
national policy fora. In this way, GFEP supports a more coherent policy dialogue about the role of forests in addressing broader environmental, social and economic challenges.

The current volume reflects the importance of policy coherence and integration more than any previous GFEP assessment. It comes at a time when the United Nations General Assembly has adopted a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which build upon the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and converge with the post-2015 development agenda. In this context, the eradication of hunger, realisation of food security and the improvement of nutrition are of particular relevance. By 2050, the international community will face the challenge of providing 9 billion people with food, shelter and energy. Despite impressive productivity increases, there is growing evidence that conventional agricultural strategies will fall short of eliminating global hunger and malnutrition. The assessment in hand provides comprehensive scientific evidence on how forests, trees and landscapes can be – and must be – an integral part of the solution to this global problem. In other words, we must connect the dots and see the bigger picture.

The review of the International Arrangement on Forests by the member states of the United Nations Forum on Forests provides a unique opportunity to integrate forests into the SDGs in a holistic manner and to promote synergies in the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda across multiple levels of governance. It is my hope that those with a responsibility for forests, food security and nutrition at all levels will find this book a useful source of information and inspiration.

Alexander Buck
IUFRO Executive Director