PEFC, forests and climate change at COP25

As world leaders gathered in Madrid for COP25, PEFC was there to highlight the vital contribution of our forests in the fight against climate change, and the role of certification.

PEFC, forests and climate change at COP25

11 December 2019 Event report

Forests are at the heart of society’s action to combat climate change and its impacts. As carbon sinks, trees capture and store carbon, removing significant volumes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Forest products meanwhile, provide us with a carbon-neutral alternative to our reliance on fossil fuels.

But to ensure that forests reach their full potential as a climate change solution, they must be managed sustainably. This is where PEFC certification comes in.

Highlighting the importance of forests at COP25

As world leaders gathered in Madrid for the UN Climate Change Conference COP25, PEFC was there to highlight the vital contribution of our forests in the fight against climate change, and the role of certification.

Ana Belén Noriega, General Secretary of PEFC Spain, represented PEFC in the High Level Meeting on Forests, which took place on Thursday 5 November. She was joined on the panel by representatives from the Ministry of Environment of Costa Rica, the Ministry of Strategic Development of Natural Resources of Peru, the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), the Associação Brasileira do Agronegócio (ABAG) and Lavazza.

Ms Noriega highlighted how forest certification is crucial in promoting and providing evidence of sustainable forest management. The sustainable management of our forests helps to increase the amount of carbon dioxide they can remove from the atmosphere and improves their ability to store it as carbon in their biomass.

Benefits beyond fighting climate change

Forest management also strengthens the capacity of people and communities living in and around forests to adapt to the effects of climate change. It provides benefits to all, from supporting local livelihoods and protecting biodiversity, to reducing rural poverty.

“Forests have to play an important role in the bioeconomy,” Ms Noriega said. “But there is an urgent need to explain the value of forests to young people, and to highlight the importance of the sustainable use of the products that come from these forests.”

Later in the afternoon, Ana Belén took part on the panel ‘Community Forest Enterprises: New models for adaptation and mitigation’, hosted by our international stakeholder member RECOFTC, the Center for People and Forests. This official COP25 side event discussed the role of community forest enterprises in conserving forests while lifting people out of poverty.

PEFC has had small, family and community forest owners at heart since the beginning, ensuring that they can benefit from the certification. Through PEFC group certification, smallholders can group together and organize themselves, pool their resources and work as a team to achieve certification.

“PEFC is like a smart phone,” Ms Noriega explained. “A complex instrument with strict criteria, but very simple to use by owners, whether they are families or small businesses.” 

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