UNITED NATIONS, May 7, Xinhua -- Representatives attending the United Nations Forum on Forests on Monday urged UN members to quicken the pace of implementing the UN strategic plan for forests (2017-2030) by increasing forest areas and better managing forest resources.

Opened on Monday, the five-day gathering will finalize its contribution to the high-level political forum on sustainable development to be hosted by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in July.

Forum chair Muhammad Shahrul Ikram Yaakob said that following the General Assembly's 2017 adoption of the UN strategic plan for forests, it is crucial to generate "an irresistible momentum" and keep the promise of a better world through the 2030 Agenda.

By doing so, it is possible to increase forests by 3 percent globally, sustainably manage all types of forests and trees, and tackle the devastating impact of both climate change and extreme poverty, he said.

Marie Chatardova, president of the ECOSOC, encouraged the forum to take a proactive role in "bringing evidence-based input" to the high-level political forum.

Liu Zhenmin, under-secretary-general for economic and social affairs, said forests are key to addressing poverty, inequality and climate change.

Describing forests as the earth's largest carbon sink, he said that expanding forest area could help limit global temperature rise.

Meanwhile, Manoel Sobral Filho, director of the forum's secretariat, said that forests, when properly managed, "are essential for sustainable and resilient societies everywhere."

During the general debate, speakers discussed the challenges their countries and regions face in forest management and funding, in addition to the work of the forum itself.

In its resolution 2000/35 in October 2000, the ECOSOC established the United Nations Forum on Forests, a subsidiary body with the main objective to promote "the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests and to strengthen long-term political commitment to this end."

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