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IP/08/1965

Poznań/Brussels, 12 December 2008

Climate change: Commission endorses Poznań declaration on reducing emissions from deforestation

At the UN climate change conference in Poznań, Poland, European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas endorsed a joint ministerial declaration launched today by like-minded countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation. The statement commits a number of developed and key tropical developing countries to take early action to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation – a process known as REDD – in the developing world.

“Tropical deforestation is a major source of the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing global warming, so action on this is essential under the global climate agreement which the international community must conclude at the end of next year,” Commissioner Dimas said. “The Poznań Statement on REDD will strengthen and accelerate this process. The European Commission has proposed the creation of an international financial mechanism to reward developing countries for their efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation.”

The joint statement, drawn up at the initiative of the United Kingdom, sets out what both rainforest countries and the international community should be working towards in order to protect tropical forests.

National strategies

The developing countries involved show their willingness to develop national REDD strategies in cooperation with relevant stakeholders, including indigenous peoples, other civil society groups and the private sector. Establishing national systems for monitoring, reporting and verifying emissions and emission cuts will be vital in order to produce credible results.

Developed countries agreeing to the statement affirm that they stand ready to help developing countries build up their capacity to develop national strategies, and to reward those which move quickly to show measurable and verified emission cuts.

The content of the joint ministerial statement is fully in line with the Commission’s strategy for REDD, presented on October 17 and endorsed by the Council of EU environment ministers on 4 December (see IP/08/1543).

Background

Forests are disappearing at a rate of around 13 million hectares per year. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has indicated that land-use change and forestry, including deforestation, is responsible for some 17% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The Commission’s REDD strategy proposes that the future global climate agreement should aim to reduce the total forested area lost in the tropics by at least half of current levels by 2020, and then to halt global forest cover loss completely by 2030 at the latest.

To reward developing countries REDD efforts, the Commission has suggested the creation of an international financing mechanism, the Global Forest Carbon Mechanism.

The Poznań Statement on REDD was endorsed at a ceremony in the sidelines of the Poznań conference. The rainforest countries involved are Brazil, Cameroon, Congo, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Indonesia, Madagascar, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Surinam, Singapore, Thailand and Uganda.

Among developed countries the statement was endorsed by Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, the European Commission, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway and the UK.


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