Paris COP21 Update: Unlocking the Potential of Forests and Land Use

In exciting  news earlier this week, a joint statement from the UK, Germany, and Norway announced their intentions to help ‘unlock the potential of forests and land use’.

The statement said:

We are here in Paris to agree on a global framework that will put the world on track to limit the increase in global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and to minimise the risk of dangerous climate change and the economic, social and environmental costs that it brings. The forest and land-use sector can deliver as much as a third of the mitigation the world needs to 2030. Furthermore, we need to act because of the vital role forests play for livelihoods, sustainable development, adaptation, biodiversity and other valuable ecosystem services they provide.

At last year’s Climate Summit in New York, our three Governments committed to support credible plans for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). This included a pledge to support up to 20 new REDD+ programmes if countries put forward robust proposals by 2016. Many countries have responded positively and we are well on track to meet this goal.

We will continue to work to meet our shared goals, including those expressed in the Leaders’ Statement on Forests and Climate Change endorsed today in Paris. Leadership will need to come from countries with significant forest areas, with support from international finance, both public and private. The aims outlined in this statement are dependent on others playing their part in these efforts. Protecting forests requires a fundamental transformation in land-use management and global supply chains and our three governments are prepared to support this process.

Within this framework, we announce today that we stand ready to:

– Increase our annual support for REDD+ if countries come forward with ambitious and high quality proposals, with an aim to provide $1 billion per year by 2020, or to provide over $5 billion in the period 2015-2020, including a significant increase in pay-for- performance finance if countries demonstrate measured, reported and verified emission reductions;

–  Scale up support and technical assistance for countries to build capacity, improve governance, address land tenure, strengthen sustainable land-use, and promote the full and effective participation of indigenous peoples and local communities in programmes that reduce deforestation and forest degradation;
–  Partner with the private sector to transform supply chains to become deforestation-free, and leverage hundreds of billions of private investment in forests and agriculture.

REDD+ has progressed over the past two years: in the UNFCCC negotiations, in the multilateral forest funds and in countries developing national REDD strategies. We welcome the finalisation of the REDD+ framework here at COP21 as a platform for enhanced ambition and implementation both before and after 2020. However, implementing sustainable land-use strategies at scale, and achieving significant emission reductions, continues to be politically and technically demanding.

In the New York Declaration on Forests, we collectively committed to provide economic incentives commensurate with the size of the challenge. We aim to increase such finance through innovative programmes that deliver substantial co-benefits, build knowledge, and encourage ambitious leadership. We welcome the ambition many countries have demonstrated through Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) as well as other pledges and undertakings. We recognise the critical role of partnerships in delivering even greater mitigation.

In recent years, a number of companies have committed to sustainable or zero-deforestation production and supply chains. We stand ready to work with companies and forest nation governments to realise these and new commitments and help align private investment flows with our shared sustainable development, food security, climate mitigation and forest protection goals.

Indigenous peoples hold considerable knowledge on how to manage forests sustainably, and civil society organizations are an essential guarantor of transparency and accountability and a source of entrepreneurial technical and operational solutions. We will increase our support to such groups from 2016 to 2020, supporting their full and effective participation in REDD+ and efforts towards sustainable land management.

Meeting our shared 2020 and 2030 goals will require sustained and coordinated action. Our focus now needs to be on implementation and delivery of plans and commitments. In addition to partnering with progressive governments, we will continue to work closely with local communities, civil society, and multilateral and private sector partners to take forward the ambitious pledges made here today.


You can read the full statement here, but I’m sure you’ll all agree that this is very welcome progress!


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