Declaration calls on governments to halt tropical deforestation

Fauna & Flora International (FFI) has teamed up with other leading NGOs and businesses – together representing more than 160 international organisations – calling for urgent action to end tropical deforestation in developing countries.

Fallen logs in the heart of the Chocó rainforest, Ecuador. Credit: Juan Pablo Moreiras/FFI.
Fallen logs in the heart of the Chocó rainforest, Ecuador. Credit: Juan Pablo Moreiras/FFI.

The joint declaration urges governments to tackle deforestation at the next global climate change negotiations, which will take place in Peru this December.

The 20th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP20) will bring hundreds of governments together to continue negotiating a new global climate agreement that outlines what nations must do to tackle climate change.

The declaration, signed by Global Canopy Programme (GCP), the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM), Environmental Defense Fund and others, calls for governments to make REDD+ an important part of that deal.

From forest floor to canopy, tropical forests are home to diverse species, like this spider monkey in Ecuador. Credit: Evan Bowen-Jones/FFI.
From forest floor to canopy, tropical forests are home to diverse species, like this spider monkey in Ecuador. Credit: Evan Bowen-Jones/FFI.

REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) seeks to curb deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions from forested land in developing countries by providing incentives to local communities to leave their forests intact. It also aims to foster conservation, sustainable management and activities that increase the carbon stored in forests.

Governments of more than 50 countries worldwide are making sustained efforts to participate in REDD+, backed by substantial public sector and non-governmental support, as well as private sector investment.

Successful REDD+ pilot initiatives have already reduced 22 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually and protected 14 million hectares of threatened forests.

Tropical forests are among the most biodiverse ecosystems on Earth. Credit: Jeremy Holden/FFI.
Tropical forests are among the most biodiverse ecosystems on Earth. Credit: Jeremy Holden/FFI.

However, financing for REDD+ must grow rapidly to meet deforestation targets and most of that will need to come from private sector sources.

To meet this challenge, the declaration calls for governments to establish ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that include REDD+. It also urges them to implement policies that will encourage investment in REDD+ – approximately US $12 billion from 2015 to 2020 – primarily from the private sector.

This investment is not only essential to keep tropical forests standing, but also to ensure that we avoid dangerous climate change and its expected impacts, such as rapid deglaciation, extreme weather and loss of agricultural productivity.

Supporting the sustainable use of forests is also important for safeguarding livelihoods, protecting biodiversity and securing value chains for communities and corporations worldwide.

A villager near Sapo National Park, Liberia. Credit: Jeremy Holden/FFI.
A villager near Sapo National Park, Liberia. Credit: Jeremy Holden/FFI.

The decisions made at COP20 in December will have a major influence on how effectively REDD+ can be used to keep tropical forest standing and protect important landscapes and species.

The declaration signatories believe that, if governments act swiftly, they can help secure the finance needed for REDD+ to successfully reduce deforestation, support sustainable land management and combat climate change.

Read the full declaration here.

You can also learn more about interim finance for REDD+ including this 2014 report.

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