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World leaders in L’aquila, Italy reaffirm the importance of forests in fighting Climate Change

G8 Summit

Group of Eight leaders meeting in L'Aquila, Italy, this week reaffirmed the need to protect the world’s forests in addressing climate change and pledged to cooperate around innovative initiatives like the UN Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (UN-REDD Programme).
At the conclusion of the first day of the Summit, the G8 leaders released a declaration saying: “We remain engaged in seeking the reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and in further promoting sustainable forest management globally..."

“We will cooperate to identify innovative instruments in this respect, including through initiatives such as [the] UN Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation [UN-REDD Programme], [the] Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) and the Informal Working Group on Interim Finance for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (IWG-IFR)”

Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) is an effort to put a financial value on the carbon stored in forests by offering incentives to developing countries to reduce emissions from forested lands and invest in low-carbon paths to sustainable development. This is a vital effort in the fight against climate change given that deforestation accounts for approximately 20 percent of annual CO2 emissions.

The UN-REDD Programme helps strengthen the capacity of developing countries to tap into REDD, and to do so while protecting the biodiversity and ecosystems of their forests and the rights and livelihoods of those Indigenous Peoples and communities who depend on them.

“Recognition by world leaders of the value of REDD is an important step towards reaching an agreement in the December 2009 climate change meeting in Copenhagen, because stabilizing global average temperatures to within two degrees Celsius will not happen without it,” said Yemi Katerere, head of the UN-REDD Programme Secretariat, speaking of the upcoming Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) set for December of this year.

“The significant flow of finance from developed to developing countries that REDD could stimulate could result not only in meaningful carbon emission reductions but could also help finance a new, low carbon path to development,” he added.

The UN-REDD Programme, a collaborative partnership between Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), was created in response to the Bali Action Plan on climate change. It builds on the convening power, expertise and networks of the three UN agencies, strenthening the UN’s ability to deliver as one.