An agreement at this week’s UN Climate Change talks in Copenhagen to cut carbon emissions by paying developing countries to preserve their forests has the potential to radically recast the world’s forests as assets to be protected rather than resources to be exploited, according to a comprehensive 50-year analysis on efforts to reduce deforestation released by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) at COP15 today.
Deforestation and land use change accounts for up to 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, more than the entire transportation sector. Climate change negotiators are currently debating the introduction of a REDD mechanism which could lead to the transfer of US$ 15-25 billion per year to forest-rich developing countries. The CIFOR report—Realising REDD+: National strategy and policy options—notes that implementing these schemes successfully will require countries to enact reforms in such areas as land tenure, forest monitoring, and governance.
The report cautions that past efforts to curb forest loss have failed more often than they have succeeded. More than 30 case studies describing projects and country policy efforts put valuable lessons on the table for REDD+ policy makers to use.
But the CIFOR analysis concludes that injecting performance-based financial incentives for forest protection in a REDD+ agreement could finally provide the all-important political will for meaningful action in developing countries, where for decades the forces of deforestation have dominated.
To download the report, please click here.
To download the press release, click here.