Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called for a cash injection to jump start progress on a United Nations scheme aimed at combating climate change through creating incentives to reverse the trend of deforestation.
Almost 20 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions – more than all the world’s cars, trucks, ships and planes combined – result from deforestation and degradation of forests.
In addition to storing over one trillion tons of the world’s carbon, forests purify water, protect soils, prevent floods and droughts and are home to the majority of the world’s land-based species.
“Some 1.6 billion people depend on forests for sustenance and income,” Mr. Ban told an event on the UN Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD) initiative.
“Sustainable forest management can create jobs and protect the livelihoods of indigenous people and local communities,” he added, addressing the high-level gathering with 70 governments represented, including 14 heads of State and senior ministers, on the fringes of the General Assembly’s annual General Debate.
“Whichever way you look at it, protecting the world’s forests is a good investment.”
UN-REDD, launched last September by Mr. Ban, compensates developing countries for reducing carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
A collaboration between the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the scheme approved $18 million in funding in March, with roughly a third going to anti-deforestation initiatives in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Tanzania and Viet Nam.
“We now need to mobilize further funding for REDD and establish transparent systems to distribute payments and measure results,” Mr. Ban said.
“Developing countries are willing to lead, provided they work in partnership with developed nations and receive the required financial and technical support,” he said, adding that such a partnership must respect the sovereignty of forest countries, as well as support indigenous peoples and others who are dependent on forests.