2019 Goal 4 assessment

Published: October 31, 2019

Key Messages

  • Measuring progress towards Goal 4 remains difficult due to a lack of data on the forest impacts of interventions that promote alternative basic-needs activities. Most poverty and sustainable development interventions do not track forest impacts, making it difficult to determine how much support is specifically addressing forest loss.
  • Basic-needs activities are not always harmful to forests, but under certain contexts and socioeconomic conditions, they may lead to forest loss. Wood harvesting and small-scale crop production are the two most common basic-needs activities that may have a negative impact on forests.
  • Activities conducted for basic needs – such as woodfuel collection – often lead to forest degradation, rather than deforestation, which makes impacts more difficult to observe and measure. These impacts may also be balanced by regrowth, but this too may not yet be tracked or measurable.
  • A lack of livelihood alternatives and increased population pressures often trigger unsustainable forest use to meet basic needs. Socioeconomic pressures can lead to an expansion in agricultural land, which is the most significant cause of basic-needs deforestation. Insecure tenure rights can exacerbate these pressures, as communities are unable to invest in efforts to maintain land quality.
  • Efforts to address deforestation driven by basic needs often focus on formalization, through measures like licensing, regulation, and clarification of land use rights. Though often well intentioned, formalization may lead to negative outcomes if implemented poorly. The formalization of basic-needs activities must include social safeguards and livelihood considerations, supported by good governance frameworks, to reduce forest impacts while protecting livelihoods and community well-being.
  • The clean cooking sector is embracing alternative business models and non-biomass fuel options to increase uptake and usage of clean cooking technology, which can reduce fuel use by 30-60 percent and relieve pressure on forests

Further Resources

2019 Goal 4 assessment
2019 Goal 4 assessment [Low Resolution]
2019 Goal 4 assessment [Low Resolution]