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Norway, USA & UK pledge $280 million to combat deforestation

Norway, UK and US will work with World Bank to establish public-private partnership to cut emissions from deforestation

(Pic: Miguel.V)

(Pic: Miguel.V)

By Nilima Choudhury

Norway, UK and the US have pledged approximately $280 million to combat the loss of the world’s forests with the aim to significantly reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation before 2020.

Launched on the sidelines of UN climate talks in Warsaw, the BioCarbon Fund Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes initiative is a joint public-private partnership established through the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD +) at COP 19 in Warsaw.

Backed by the World Bank, the partnership will support countries to help advance their implementation of REDD+, while providing the food, feed, fibre and fuels on which all depend, and protecting biodiversity and livelihoods. Norway (up to $135 million), the UK ($120 million) and the US ($25 million) plan to support this initiative in its first year.

UK Secretary of State for energy and climate change Edward Davey said tree cover the size of Greenland has been destroyed by logging, fire, disease and storms.

“Our global forests are the lungs of the world, and protecting them is fundamental for our survival. When we hand these forests over to future generations, we must be able to say we exercised our stewardship wisely and responsibly.

“We have the opportunity now to pull forests back from the brink – reducing emissions and safeguarding the wildlife, agriculture and other livelihoods that depend on the forests. We must not let that opportunity pass us by.”

Global greenhouse gas emissions from land use account for nearly one-third of the global total, with most of these emissions coming from the loss of tropical forests and carbon-rich peatlands.

Norwegian Minister for climate and the environment Tine Sundtoft said this initiative will demonstrate REDD+ results that are “large scale taking a cross-sectorial approach and allowing for different social, political and administrative circumstances.”

Agricultural expansion is key to poverty reduction and shared prosperity. Today over a billion people worldwide work in agriculture and their products provide a major source of income for farmers, communities, and national governments.

Agriculture is estimated to be the proximate driver for around 80% of deforestation worldwide. Commercial agriculture is the most important driver of deforestation in Latin America (around 2/3 of total deforested area).

In Africa and (sub) tropical Asia, commercial and subsistence agriculture together are responsible for 2/3 of deforestation, both of similar importance.

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