The rate of destruction of forest cover has significantly increased over the past ten years, particularly in countries in the South. This endangers the overall development of these regions. Southern countries are faced with the erosion of their natural resources. Meanwhile , they suffer the most from climate change, of which deforestation is one of the main causes.
The United Nations declared 2011 the International Year of Forests. Hereby the UN emphasized the importance of extensive forest cover for millions of people around the world. There were initiatives taken at international level, but the challenge remains: the preservation of forests on one hand and the economic development on the other are difficult to reconcile.
Traditionally, the Belgian development strategies focus primarily on economic and social issues. Today they are combining the need for growth and preservation of the environment in their programmes.