SDG 3: Good health and well-being

By regulating the climate, providing clean air and water, and through recreational benefits that support physical and mental health, forests and trees play a significant role in for our well-being.

SDG 3: Good health and well-being

Sustainable Development Goal

Ensuring healthy lives and promoting the well-being at all ages is essential to sustainable development. Health is also a good summative measure of the progress of nations in achieving sustainable development. It contributes to national development through productive employment, reduced expenditure on illness care and greater social cohesion.

Forests and SDG 3:

Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

Forests play a significant role in both providing health benefits and mitigating negative health impacts. Recreational benefits from forests are known to support physical and mental health through stress alleviation. Forests also regulate the climate, providing clean air and purifying water.

For 65 percent of India’s population, traditional medicine is the only available source of healthcare, and it also accounts for about 40 percent of all healthcare provided in China. FAO

Not only forests themselves, but also the management of productive forests contributes to SDG 3 as it supports the health and well-being of surrounding communities through livelihood opportunities and investments in shared infrastructure. It also provides quality housing, appropriate working conditions, and health and safety standards. 

Non-wood forest products can provide the essential nutrients needed for good maternal and child health, and medicinal plants found in forests also provide ingredients used for both modern and traditional medicines. 

Additionally, here is also a significant value of wood buildings in providing affordable housing, as well as a positive impact of wood buildings on health and well-being.

On the other hand, forest work is considered among the most hazardous in the world. Healthy and safe working conditions are prerequisites for sustainable forest management. In practice sustainability can only be ensured by properly instructed and trained workers doing a good job.

Related SDG target (abbreviated)

3.8 Achieve access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all.

3.9 By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination

The economic value of traditional medicines derived from forest species is considerable: the global value of the annual market for these products was estimated at US$60 billion in 2002. FAO

PEFC and SDG 3

PEFC promotes healthy forests, workers, people and communities. Our standard makes sure that the health and vitality of forests is maintained or enhanced, safeguarding the ecosystem services that are important to human health.

The use of pesticides needs to be avoided, and – if they are necessary - limited to a level that minimizes the risks to human health and the environment.

Forest work must be organized in a manner that minimizes health and accident risks, and workers receive training on work safety. 

Benefits from PEFC certification are extended to communities. Areas fundamental to meeting the needs of indigenous peoples and local communities such as health need to be protected and the long-term health and well-being of communities within or adjacent to the forest promoted.

Selected PEFC criteria (abbreviated) and standards

6.3.1.2 The organisation shall comply with legislation on forest management, including health, labour and safety issues.

6.3.4.1 Forest operations shall be planned, organised and performed in a manner that enables health and accident risks to be identified and all reasonable measures to be applied to protect workers from work-related risks. Workers shall be informed about the risks involved with their work and about preventive measures.

6.3.4.2 The standard requires that working conditions shall be safe, and guidance and training in safe working practices shall be provided to all those assigned to a task in forest operations. 

8.2.6 The standard requires that integrated pest management shall be preferred to minimise the use of pesticides.

8.6.4 The standard requires that management shall promote the long-term health and well-being of communities within or adjacent to the forest management area.

8.6.6 The standard requires that management shall give due regard to the role of forestry in local economies. 

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