The debate on forests has gained increasing importance on the international agenda especially starting with the United Nations
Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) – also known as Rio-92 or Earth Summit –, when the Forest Principles and Agenda 21 were negotiated.
A country with an immense forest area located in different biomes, Brazil actively participates in these discussions, advocating treatment that takes into account all forest systems – and that considers not only environmental aspects but also economic, commercial, social and cultural aspects. International debates also involve issues such as territorial sovereignty, reduction of emissions and mitigation of the adverse effects of climate change, conservation of biodiversity, protection of water resources and promotion of sustainable development.
The United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) is the multilateral forum for concerting positions and interests on forests at the global level. UNFF is part of the International Arrangement on Forests (IAF) and aims to promote the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests, as well as to strengthen long-term political commitment to this issue. The 7th UNFF Session, held in April 2007, was especially important, as it adopted the Non-legally Binding Instrument on All Types of Forests (commonly known as the Forest Instrument), a reference document for sustainable forest management (SFM) and for international negotiations on the theme.
In 2017, the United Nations Plan for Forests 2017-2030, which contains 6 global, voluntary and universal forest objectives, and 26 associated goals, was approved. The International Arrangement on Forests also includes the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), created in 2001 and chaired by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), bringing together 14 international organizations relevant to the theme – including the UNFF itself. The FAO Committee on Forests (COFO) also plays an important part in the international discussions on forests.