Professor Emily Boyd is attending a high level meeting on Forests, Climate Change and Development in the presence of HRH The Prince of Wales and The UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, The Rt. Hon Edward Davey MP at the British Academy, London today.
The deforestation and degradation of the world’s forests accounts for as much as 20% of annual global greenhouse gas emissions: indeed, recent science shows that if tropical forests were a country, its emissions would be ahead of the European Union and not far behind China. Deforestation and degradation also cause significant biodiversity loss and damage to the livelihoods and wellbeing of forest-dependent peoples, as well as reducing regional water availability by disrupting climatic patterns. More encouragingly, and as the New Climate Economy report demonstrates, the policies needed to address deforestation, degradation and land use change are increasingly well defined, cost effective and make strong political, development and economic sense. And forest landscape restoration – in addition to reducing deforestation and degradation – represents a major opportunity to make further and much-needed global greenhouse mitigation gains in addition to creating a new source of sustainable rural livelihood opportunities.
The UN Secretary General’s Climate Leaders Summit in New York in September 2014 catalysed bold and increased commitments from Governments, NGOs and the private sector to protecting and restoring the world’s forests, building on the leadership of Brazil and other forest nations over recent years. 2015 represents a critical year for forests, both in the context of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and in terms of the UNFCCC negotiations for COP21 in Paris. The London meeting – set to take place three days after a Forests Session at the World Economic Forum in Davos – will provide a high level opportunity to take stock of progress made since New York and further to advance the partnerships underway between donors, forest countries, civil society and the private sector intended to fulfil the commitments made at the Summit and in other contexts. It will also see the publication of The Prince of Wales’s International Sustainability Unit’s new synthesis report entitled: ‘Protecting and Nurturing Tropical Forests in the 21st Century: a holistic perspective’.