Announced at the UN Climate Summit on Tuesday of this week the New York Declaration on Forests is a commitment by governments, industry and NGOs to end deforestation by 2030, with an intermediate target of halving the rate of deforestation by 2020.
Other goals of signatories to the non-binding Declaration are to:
- Support and help meet the private-sector goal of eliminating deforestation from the production of agricultural commodities such as palm oil, soy, paper and beef products by no later than 2020, recognizing that many companies have even more ambitious targets.
- Significantly reduce deforestation derived from other economic sectors by 2020.
- Support alternatives to deforestation driven by basic needs (such as subsistence farming and reliance on fuel wood for energy) in ways that alleviate poverty and promote sustainable and equitable development.
- Restore 150 million hectares of degraded landscapes and forestlands by 2020 and significantly increase the rate of global restoration thereafter, which would restore at least an additional 200 million hectares by 2030.
- Include ambitious, quantitative forest conservation and restoration targets for 2030 in the post-2015 global development framework, as part of new international sustainable development goals.
- Agree in 2015 to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation as part of a post-2020 global climate agreement, in accordance with internationally agreed rules and consistent with the goal of not exceeding 2°C warming.
- Provide support for the development and implementation of strategies to reduce forest emissions.
- Reward countries and jurisdictions that, by taking action, reduce forest emissions – particularly through public policies to scale-up payments for verified emission reductions and private-sector sourcing of commodities.
- Strengthen forest governance, transparency and the rule of law, while also empowering communities and recognizing the rights of indigenous peoples, especially those pertaining to their lands and resources.
Achieving these outcomes is projected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 4.5 – 8.8 billion tons CO2e per year by 2030, equivalent to removing every vehicle off the world’s roads.
The 27 countries that have signed on to the declaration include France, Germany, Japan, the UK, and the USA. Among the 34 companies that have signed on are such well-known names as Asia Pulp and Paper, Barclays, Cargill, Danone, Deutsche Bank, General Mills, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg’s, L’Oreal, Marks & Spencer, McDonalds, Mondelez, Nestle, Procter & Gamble, SC Johnson, Unilever, and Walmart. The only company which GallonDaily recognized as a Canadian company is Sobeys.
The Declaration will remain open for signature until the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in December 2015. Hopefully by that time both the second largest exporter of primary forest products in the world (Canada) and some of Canada’s leading forest product producers and processors will have signed on.
The New York Declaration on Forests can be found at http://www.un.org/climatechange/summit/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2014/09/FORESTS-New-York-Declaration-on-Forests.pdf
The UN press release announcing the Declaration is at http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=48801#.VCQrH0pdXGV