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In Focus, Article 1, March 2007


Climate Change Convention Parties discuss approaches to reduce emissions from deforestation in developing countries

Avoiding loss of forests and forest degradation, particularly in the tropics, is one of the largest challenges for developing countries around the world.  Forests play an important role in the global climate system, while their conservation links to crucial issues for developing countries, such as poverty alleviation and sustainable development.

About 1 billion people living in extreme poverty depend in part on forests for their livelihood.  Loss of forests can result in multiple impacts on humans, societies and ecosystems.  Current deforestation rates impose increased threats to biodiversity since tropical forests are home to about 80% of the Earth’s plants and animals. 

Despite wide awareness of these impacts, deforestation and land-use change constitute large sources of greenhouse gases on a global scale.  While some efforts have been made regarding conservation and sustainable use of the global forest resources, a lot more needs to be done. 

Between 7 and 9 March 2007, 140 delegates from 58 UNFCCC Parties and international organizations met in Cairns, Australia, to discuss ways and means to reduce emissions from deforestation in developing countries.  The workshop helped improve the understanding of reducing emissions from deforestation and allowed for an open and constructive discussion on policy approaches and positive incentives as well as technical and methodological requirements related to their implementation and assessment of their results and reliability.  Participants identified areas of agreement while they recognized that there are divergent points of view and issues that need to be resolved in order to ensure that progress is made on this very important issue. 

All agreed on the urgency to take meaningful action to reduce emissions from deforestation.  Such action should ensure the integrity of the international climate change process and should be compatible with sustainable forest management, while it contributes to significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions and to the promotion of co-benefits, such as poverty alleviation and conserving biodiversity.·

Proposals for approaches to reduce emissions from deforestation were presented at the workshop.  Some of them were based on funding activities through the use of market-based mechanisms (e.g. emissions trading of carbon credits, project-based, programmatic and/or sectoral CDM, barter transaction, payment for ecosystem services, levies on carbon credits from emissions trading and joint implementation), while others were based on the availability of non-market-based financial resources (e.g. ODA, voluntary contributions from governments and NGOs, private sector sponsorship/ donations, taxes on carbon intensive commodities and services, existing funds under the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol).

The workshop was part of a two-year process launched at the UN Climate Change Conference in Montreal in December 2005.  The results of the meeting will be reported to the twenty-sixth session on the SBSTA starting 7 May, in Bonn, Germany.

For more information, including agendas, relevant documents and presentations, please see the respective workshop webpage: http://unfccc.int/methods_and_science/lulucf/items/3896.php


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