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Nations must ramp up NDC ambition to meet forest goals

Time and time again, we continue to emphasize the invaluable benefits of forests and stress the crucial need to protect them.

Yet here we are in 2024, in a very familiar situation where emissions from tree cover loss are far off track, and national commitments are falling short, yet again. Despite decades of advocacy and numerous international agreements, the trajectory of deforestation continues its alarming ascent, posing existential threats to both the planet and people.


billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent

was emitted from tropical forest cover loss per year between 2019 and 2023 in the top twenty forest-rich countries, according to Global Forest Watch.



experiencing most tropical deforestation have quantified targets to reduce deforestation in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).



contain quantified targets relating to afforestation or reforestation.


Hitting rock bottom?

Targets outlined in the NDCs of the top 20 tropical countries with the highest emissions from tree cover loss fall short of the global goal to halt forest destruction by 2030. Only eight NDCs explicitly target reducing deforestation, with Mexico pledging net-zero deforestation by 2030 and others proposing significant reductions. Eleven NDCs include afforestation or restoration targets, but these don’t prioritize reducing deforestation. Different targets and limited details make tracking progress and alignment with global goals challenging.


Clock is ticking

The benefits of conserving forests – be it tackling climate change or for local people whose livelihoods and communities rely on them – are clear. Action is needed now to maximize forest-based climate mitigation, and will require equitable support and coordination between nations, including Indigenous Peoples, local communities, women, and young people. The upcoming COP30 in 2025 will act as a pivotal moment to accelerate ambition on forest protection and take a decisive stance against deforestation.


A path forward

Strengthening forest-based measures in NDCs and national policies is the first step, with opportunities to enhance commitments made through existing plans like Brazil’s Amazon initiative and Indonesia’s FOLU plan. Clarity in deforestation targets, pushing for inclusive policymaking, and securing financial support are essential for this collective effort to be more sustainable. Collaboration between the private sector, developed and forest-rich countries to provide more funding is key if the goal of halting deforestation by 2030 is to be met.

Now is the time

While preparing to submit the next round of NDCs for COP30, countries - especially those with extensive forest cover - are strongly encouraged to include concrete, measurable forest targets in their revised goals. It goes without saying that increased ambitions must be accompanied by strong and immediate action. The urgency of the situation cannot be overstated – countries must break the cycle of broken promises and take concrete action.

The urgency of the situation cannot be overstated; it is crucial to break the cycle of empty promises and translate our promises into concrete action.

The time is now to deliver coordinated action to conserve forests and turn commitments into reality..


Read more about the NDC Report

Pledges to reduce deforestation and pledges to financially support this transition from developed countries, are insufficient to halt deforestation by 2030. This report