Boletín de Prensa. CIFOR, 6 dic 2010
CANCÚN, MEXICO (6 December 2010) -- Slowing the rate of deforestation represents the cheapest and easiest way to curb greenhouse gas emissions, climate and forestry experts said at a gathering on the sidelines of the U.N. climate talks in Mexico, while urging negotiators to find common ground on a REDD+ agreement.
REDD+ is a global mechanism for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, as well as the conservation and sustainable management of forests, and the enhancement of forest carbon stocks. Observers at the U.N. climate conference in Cancún say an agreement on REDD+ represents one of the best opportunities for progress at the talks.
"Here and now, it's time for all of us to push and push hard for full incorporation of REDD+ into a long-term international climate change agreement," said Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, President of Mexico, to participants at the opening of Forest Day 4.
Roughly 18 percent of man-made greenhouse gas emissions come from deforestation and forest degradation—about the equivalent of those from the entire global transport sector.
“This must be addressed. We have to change the way we do things or climate change will change us,” Calderón noted.
Forest Day is an annual gathering of world leaders, together with forest, development and climate experts as well as policymakers, advocates, investors, and indigenous and community representatives. More than 1500 people attended Forest Day 4 in Cancún to discuss how to accelerate the integration of forests into climate protection and adaptation schemes from local to global levels.
Speakers noted that it had been five years since a coalition of tropical forest countries supported a proposal tabled at the U.N. climate talks in Montreal to create an international framework to cut carbon emissions by curbing deforestation. In 2006, the Stern Review cited reducing deforestation as the “single largest opportunity for cost-effective and immediate reductions of carbon emissions.” Yet agreement on a final framework for REDD+ implementation and finance has remained elusive. REDD+ negotiations in Cancún made progress in overcoming several obstacles with respect to country eligibility and the scope of activities that would be funded under the REDD+ mechanism.
The urgency to act was the overarching message of many of the speakers at Forest Day.
“While most of us still hope for an agreement on REDD this week, regardless of what happens in the negotiations, voluntary commitments and initiatives have a momentum of their own,” said Frances Seymour, Director General of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).
“Whether the objective is global climate protection, local adaptation, biodiversity conservation, or rural development, there is an increasing sense that the risks of no action on forests are far greater than the risks of moving ahead. It’s time to act,” she added.
Appreciation has grown of the potential of REDD+ to generate additional benefits beyond the sequestration of carbon – including poverty reduction, biodiversity conservation, and synergies with adaptation to climate change. Such benefits would not be captured automatically, and how best to design REDD+ policies and strategies to ensure effectiveness and efficiency to safeguard vulnerable ecosystems and the rights and livelihoods of human communities, remains the subject of debate.
But discussions at Forest Day 4 suggest that the emergence of a robust consensus that inaction on protecting the world’s forests poses a far greater risk than moving forward with a less-than-perfect agreement and initiatives. The carbon emitted into the atmosphere from continued deforestation and degradation is accelerating climate change, and endangering the biodiversity and ecosystems services that support the livelihoods of more than 1.6 billion people.
Despite minimal progress in reaching a binding international agreement on climate change, rural communities are taking matters into their own hands. Through community-based forestry enterprises, they are demonstrating that with the right policies in place rural people can exercise effective stewardship of forests while creating jobs and generating income. No country offers more examples of this than Mexico, and its experience is being repeated in other countries, according to Pablo Farias, Vice President of the Ford Foundation.
"So much action already happening on the ground is what will finally get REDD+ off the ground," said Antonio La Viña of Manila University.
Forest Day participants were polled on several topics related to forests and climate. When asked about the biggest immediate challenge in implementing REDD+ at the sub-national level, about a third said the equitable distribution of net REDD+ revenues to forest-dependent communities, while another third said securing property rights was a significant challenge. The remaining third was split between employment for rural communities and monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of emission reductions.
Forest Day is one of the world's leading global platforms for anyone with an interest in forests and climate change to come together with others and exchange their views. Previous Forest Days focused on placing the role of forests in mitigating and adapting to climate change at the forefront of climate negotiations. The outcomes of previous Forest Day themes as well as a description of the CPF members are attached. The theme for Forest Day 4 is “Time to Act,” highlighting the urgency of ensuring the survival of the world’s forests, the biodiversity they embrace and the hundreds of millions of people who depend on them. http://www.forestday.org
The Collaborative Partnership on Forests is a voluntary arrangement among 14 international organisations and secretariats with substantial programmes on forests (CIFOR, FAO, ITTO, IUFRO, CBD, GEF, UNCCD, UNFF, UNFCCC, UNDP, UNEP, ICRAF, WB and IUCN). The CPF’s mission is to promote the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forest and strengthen long-term political commitment to this end. http://www.fao.org/forestry/cpf/44935/en/
CONAFOR (Comisión Nacional Forestal) is the National Forestry Commission of Mexico. It is a public agency whose objective is to develop, support and promote conservation and restoration in Mexico’s forests, as well as to participate in developing plans and programmes and enacting policies for sustainable forestry development. http://www.conafor.gob.mx/
The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) advances human wellbeing, environmental conservation and equity by conducting research to inform policies and practices that affect forests in developing counties. CIFOR helps ensure that decision-making that affects forests is based on solid science and principles of good governance, and reflects the perspectives of developing countries and forest-dependent people. CIFOR is one of 15 centres within the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research.