PEFC Supports Global New York Declaration on ForestsSep 24 2014
An innovative public-private partnership of multinationals, governments, civil society and indigenous peoples yesterday joined forces to cut the loss of forests in half by 2020 and end it a decade later in 2030 – a move that will eliminate the emission of between 4.5 and 8.8 billion tons of carbon dioxide each year. That is equivalent to removing the carbon emissions produced by the one billion cars that are currently on the world’s roads.
At yesterday’s Climate Summit, the New York Declaration on Forests was endorsed by countries in the developed and developing world – including the United States, the EU, and a large number of tropical forest countries – as well as by multinationals from the food, paper, finance and other industries, civil society organizations and indigenous peoples from Peru to Nepal. For the first time, 156 of these global leaders, including PEFC International, agreed on a range of measures to end deforestation, including the need for large-scale economic incentives for countries that reduce the loss of their forests. Deforestation is a frequently overlooked source of carbon dioxide emissions and a significant contributor to climate change, as trees, which store carbon, instead release it when they are burned during slash-and-burn land clearing of forests.
“PEFC as the world's leading forest certification system welcomes this partnership, recognizing the potential that this wide coalition of actors can achieve by joining forces,” said Ben Gunneberg, Secretary General of PEFC International. “Forest certification is rightly recognized by the New York Declaration on Forests as a very effective measure, and we are looking forward to working with all stakeholders to support our common efforts of promoting responsible forest management. Safeguarding and sustainably managing our global forest resources is not only of fundamental importance to tackling environmental challenges, but it also supports the tremendous socioeconomic benefits that society derives from forests, specifically when it comes to rural development and supporting the livelihoods of people dependent on forest resources.”
The Declaration, which was driven by a group of countries and companies with input from civil society and indigenous peoples, aims to change politics going into next year’s Paris climate talks and accelerate action by companies to eliminate deforestation from their supply chains. The Declaration also calls for the restoration of over 350 million hectares of forests and croplands, an area greater than the size of India, which would bring significant climate benefits and take pressure off primary forests. It builds on announcements made at the Climate Summit and over the past months.
“I asked for countries and companies to bring bold pledges, and here they are,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon about the Declaration. “The New York Declaration aims to reduce more climate pollution each year than the United States emits annually, and it doesn’t stop there. Forests are not only a critical part of the climate solution – the actions agreed today will reduce poverty, enhance food security, improve the rule of law, secure the rights of indigenous peoples and benefit communities around the world.”
The Declaration’s endorsement comes as the forest sector is transformed by new policies and shifting demand from consumer goods companies and consumers, stronger land rights for indigenous peoples and greater advocacy by civil society. Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon is down 75 per cent since 2004, and in the past nine months alone 60 per cent of the world’s highly carbon-intensive palm oil trade has come under commitments to go deforestation-free.
“Forests are not solely economic resources, but are the center of spiritual life and cultural integration for indigenous peoples,” said Abdon Nababan, Secretary General of the Indigenous Peoples Alliance of Indonesia’s Archipelago (AMAN). “The New York Declaration is a long-awaited show of political will by all countries to support indigenous peoples as we fight to defend our forests.”
"Our planet is losing forests at a rate of eight football fields every ten seconds,” said Carter Roberts, President and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). “Today we’ve seen important commitments from companies, governments, civil society and indigenous peoples to halt this trend. Now it is time for urgent collaboration to see these commitments realized on the ground.”
“PEFC has already certified more than 255 million hectares of forests globally, and we hope that the New York Declaration of Forests, with the support it has gathered from global leaders, will assist us in rapidly expanding this area, for the benefit of the people and the planet,” concluded Mr. Gunneberg.
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