On 16 July 2020, UNU hosted “Tropical Deforestation, COVID-19, and Climate Change: What Do They Have in Common?” a virtual conversation with Prof. Kaoru Kitajima of Kyoto University. This event was held via Zoom Webinar at 18:30 (JST).
As the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity 2011-2020 comes to a close, it is worth examining the habitat where most of Earth’s terrestrial biodiversity is found: forests. Forests contain much of the world’s land-based flora and fauna, guarantee livelihoods for millions, mitigate climate change, and are a vital source of water and food. Since 1990, 420 million hectares of forest have been lost worldwide — equivalent to eleven times the landmass of Japan, or half that of Brazil. Tropical deforestation has serious repercussions, including many that are unpredictable. For example, experts have warned that human encroachment of wild animal habitats will drive the emergence of zoonotic diseases, as pathogens that historically did not interact with people can now jump from animals to humans. There is still hope, however, as the United Nations announced 2021-2030 as the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration to hasten action on biodiversity targets.
Prof. Kitajima joined Prof. Taikan Oki, UNU Senior Vice-Rector and UN Assistant Secretary-General, to discuss how we can reduce tropical deforestation and better manage our tropical rainforests.
Watch the video at https://youtu.be/QW-o5XUv8N4