Gunther Beger, Wanjira Mathai and Christoph Heinrich (from left to right) discussing at the event in Hamburg, Germany.
Photo: GIZ


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The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) together with the World Future Council invited to the innovation dialogue entitled “Forests for future – how tropical forests can fight hunger and save the climate” on the 15th of August 2019 in Hamburg, Germany. The innovation dialogues are a series of events run under the umbrella of the special BMZ initiative “One World No Hunger” (SEWOH).

Looking at the burning Amazon and Tundra, net deforestation still goes on and diminishes the global carbon sink, releasing huge amounts of stored carbon into the atmosphere. And even though the world is wasting 30 per cent of food produce through inappropriate farming practices and storage before it reaches our plates, illegal logging for arable land still goes on. 

The conflict over land between food production and forest conservation calls for action. In 2019, Ethiopia planted 350 million trees, beating India’s world record of 60 million in 2017. But this is sadly only a drop in the ocean. Saving forests is a complex challenge. 

Nowadays more than 1.6 billion people depend on forest resources. Not only does this include timber for construction purposes and firewood, but it also implies non-timber forest resources for food and feed and medicinal proposes. With a growing population, especially in Africa, pressure on resources will increase during the next decades.

Against this background the participants of the innovation dialogue in Hamburg discussed how to use our global forests sustainably and at the same time fight hunger and last but not least save our climate.

Christoph Heinrich of the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) maintains that forest and biodiversity always go hand in hand since 80 per cent of the living organisms are found terrestrial in forests, living in the soil and flora below the canopy of the trees.

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