Greater ambition is possible: how collaborative action is crucial to saving forests | WWF

Greater ambition is possible: how collaborative action is crucial to saving forests

Posted on 02 December 2015
WWF's Director General Marco Lambertini speaks at LPAA's Forest Focus event
© WWF Forest & Climate Programme / Peter Graham
December 1st was the forest day at COP21 in Paris, during which representatives from government, the private sector, indigenous peoples, and civil society announced their plans to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation at the Forest Focus event of the Lima-Paris Action Agenda (LPAA). 

Launched at last year’s climate change talks in Lima, Peru, the LPAA is a joint undertaking of the Peruvian and French COP presidencies, the Office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the UNFCCC Secretariat, whose objective is to catalyze action on climate change that increases ambition before 2020 and thereafter, once a new agreement comes into force. 

The Forest Focus event of the LPAA made it clear that we cannot achieve a goal of limiting global temperature increase to less than 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels this century without addressing a quarter of all global emissions which result from the current, high rate of emissions from the forest and land sector.  “It is very encouraging to see that the discussions during the LPAA Forest Focus event today are no longer about why forests are worth saving, but rather how we can best do it,” said Tine Sundtoft, Minister of Climate and Environment, from the Government of Norway.

“Today we saw the importance of individual leadership from both state and non-state actors. Be it a large country like Brazil or a small country like Guatemala, be it the AIDESEP indigenous federation of Peru or the private company Mondelēz, we must encourage and recognize the leadership of all actors to support a development model that values the multiple goods and services that forests provide,” said Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF, who was invited to speak at the event.

“At a time when we need an “all-hands-on-deck” approach, where all sectors accelerate efforts to decarbonize to prevent global temperature increases of more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, the forest sector showed us today how we can deliver greater ambition faster through a combination of individual leadership of state and non-state actors, and collaboration.”

The Forest Focus event also showcased the power of collaboration in ramping up ambition through international collaborative partnerships between donors and forest countries, as well as alliances between state and non-state actors.

Colombia announced a collaborative partnership with the governments of Germany, Norway, and the United Kingdom, amounting to $300 million USD to deliver on its Amazon Vision and scale up its deforestation reduction efforts to the entire country.

These donors also announced a collective aim to provide over $5 billion USD from 2015 to 2020, if forest countries demonstrate measured, reported and verified emission reductions. 

Other Latin American countries showed how innovative partnerships can catalyze action and increase ambition. Paraguay announced a new collaborative partnership with Itaipu Binacional, one of the largest hydroelectric energy companies in the world, to protect the most important forests in Paraguay.  Guatemala shared its plans to reduce around 21 million tCO2e during the 2016-2020 period as part of their Emissions Reductions Programs presented to the Carbon Fund, but expressed their willingness to reduce additional 23 million tCO2 over the 2021-2030 period if international support is available to reach this goal. Mexico showed progress articulating further ambition on forests under their conditional targets, with the plan to expand its initiative to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, by including actions in additional 6 million ha in the country, as part of the country’s plan to scale up efforts to the national level.

In the private sector front there were also key announcements, such as the one from Mondelēz International, who committed to lead private sector action as part of Côte d’Ivoire’s national program to combat deforestation. With its “Cocoa Life” program, Mondelēz International will be working with 26,000 smallholder Ivorian cocoa farmers by 2016 to reduce deforestation in its supply chain. Augustine Njamnshi, the Technical and Political Affairs Chairperson of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) emphasized the importance of participation of small-holders as the majority of food in Africa is produced by smallholders. “Any scheme which does not face this reality is bound to fail” said Njamnshi.

Representatives from indigenous peoples participated in the forest event, reminding us of the key role that they play in the protection of forests as their contribution to the fight against climate change. “Indigenous peoples don’t wait and see for the action to begin, indigenous peoples have already started to take concrete actions to combat climate change”, said Jorge Furagaro, representative from COICA. Last year, a global coalition of indigenous peoples pledged to protect 400 million ha of forests in the Amazon, Central America, the Congo Basin, and Indonesia.

“While a new global climate agreement is crucial, we cannot afford to wait until 2020 to act,” said Peter Graham, head of WWF’s Forest and Climate Programme. “The momentum built by the action agenda yesterday, shows that we need more ambitious action, delivered faster. That requires greater individual leadership, consistent political will, of both state and non-state actors, and greater collaboration – between countries, businesses, civil society organizations, and indigenous peoples.”
WWF's Director General Marco Lambertini speaks at LPAA's Forest Focus event
© WWF Forest & Climate Programme / Peter Graham Enlarge

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Donate to WWF

Your support will help us build a future where humans live in harmony with nature.

Enter Yes if you accept the terms and conditions
Enter Yes if you accept the terms and conditions