UNFF: United Nations Forum on Forests

Committee Overview:

The United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) was established by ECOSOC in 2000 via Resolution 2000/35. Unlike many other entities created by ECOSOC, UNFF has universal membership, highlighting the global importance of forest preservation. The work of the UNFF is organized under Programmes of Work spanning 3–7-year periods. As of May 2020, the newest Programme of Work, spanning 2021–2024, is still being decided by member states. However, the previous Programme of Work was closely tied to the Sustainable Development Goals and led to the creation of the “United Nations strategic plan for forests 2017–2030,” which was also adopted by ECOSOC.

Topic: Reducing the Impact of the Mining Industry on Forests

Mining is one of humankind’s earliest endeavors, and its importance has all but increased as humanity continues to develop. The term mining is, in its broadest context, “encompassing the extraction of any naturally occurring mineral substances—solid, liquid, and gas—from the earth or other heavenly bodies for utilitarian purposes.” Mining, while being economically driven, is an incredibly environmentally disruptive activity considering the reach of its industries in some of the most ecologically sensitive forests in the world. The critical direct impact of this increased mining on forest ecosystems is deforestation, the removal of vegetation, and canopy cover. Additionally, there are many indirect impacts of forest mining, including road-building and pipeline development; these projects may result in habitat fragmentation and increased access to remote areas and further compromise of the livelihood of forest-dependent communities, such as indigenous groups. The UNFF must work to reduce this impact, while also addressing past and current challenges and efforts that contribute to the discussion.