Historic Win Achieves Global Agreement
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Cancún, Mexico — Conservation International (CI) welcomed
the news that REDD+, the mechanism for reducing emissions from deforestation and
forest degradation, was officially adopted at the latest United Nations
Framework on Climate Change Conference in Cancún Mexico. This decision converts
what — up until now — have been piecemeal efforts to address deforestation into
a global endeavor.
In addition, the talks reached an historic note, by putting into place a
basic framework for how all of the countries of the world will address the great
climate challenge — avoiding dangerous climate change and adapting to the
impacts that are already inevitable. This is the start of an ambitious program
for 2012, and Cancún has pointed us in the right direction.
"This is truly a historic moment — a turning point when the nations of the
Earth have stepped up to resolve the challenges that plague her, to protect
forests and the wealth of ecosystem services and biodiversity that they harbor,
to ensure that forest- dependent communities and all humanity have means of
conserving our rich living heritage, nature for the benefit of all present and
future generations," said Fred Boltz, Senior Vice President for Global
Initiatives and Climate Change Lead for Conservation International. "After years
of conversation, we now have a global framework for action to halt
deforestation, provide for adaptation by vulnerable human and natural
communities and reverse dangerous climate challenges."
Parties agreed to create a Green Climate Fund — another hard-fought issue
that saw passage — and established a goal to mobilize US$100 billion per year
for all climate related activities including REDD+ by 2020. While this amount is
a good start — toward getting the momentum toward making REDD+ a robust and
widespread program, more will be needed to make addressing climate change
realistic in the long term.
While the world's climate leaders worked until the early morning hours of the
final day of conference, the effects of climate change continue to take its toll
on the health and well being of the planet and its inhabitants. In the last
decade, the world lost an area of tropical forest half the size of Mexico. Trees
are not the only victims of this destruction, in the wake of the 14 million
hectares of tropical forests burned down each year it is estimated that some 16
million species populations go extinct.
The decision also established a Cancún Adaptation Framework that will help
developing countries adapt to the impacts of climate change.
"The adaptation framework agreed upon in Cancún is an important first step
for supporting vulnerable peoples and ecosystems as they are forced to adapt in
a changing climate," said Rebecca Chacko, Climate Policy Director for
Conservation International. "It is important that the framework be supporting by
new, additional and adequate finance in order for meaningful implementation of
The success of this conference breathes new life into the climate meetings,
reassures the global community of the UNFCCC's relevance. The Cancún agreement
offers a path forward to next year's gathering in Durban, South Africa where
issues left on the table in Cancún will be once again be brought forward.
Notes to editors:
REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest
Degradation "plus" conservation, the sustainable management of forests and
enhancement of forest carbon) aims at providing compensation to halt the
deforestation and degradation of natural forests and increase their recovery and
permanent conservation. REDD+ strategies and activities have great potential to
contribute to environmental, economic and social goals beyond carbon storage.
This approach is consistent with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
goal of achieving climate goals while contributing to sustainable development as
well as other Millennium Development Goals that countries have adopted.
Conservation International (CI): Building upon a str ong
foundation of science, partnership and field demonstration, CI empowers
societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature for the well-being of
humanity. With headquarters in Washington, D.C., CI works in more than 40
countries on four continents. For more information, visit www.conservation.org