At a high-level Leadership Dialogue, the heads of UN agencies committed to help countries improve forest management and reduce deforestation.
As the COP 25 President, Chile initiated the ‘Santiago Call for Action on Forests'.
The Call states that forests and trees, combined with improved land management, could provide up to 30% of greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation needed by 2030 to limit the global average temperature rise to below 2°C.
The heads of UN agencies committed to help countries improve forest management and reduce deforestation. The agencies announced their intentions at a high-level Leadership Dialogue on the sidelines of the 25th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 25) to the UNFCCC.
As the COP 25 President, Chile initiated the ‘Santiago Call for Action on Forests.’ The Call recognizes the impact of climate change on terrestrial ecosystems and states that climate change is exacerbating risks to biodiversity, human and ecosystem health, food systems, livelihoods and infrastructure. The Call states that forests and trees, combined with improved land management, could provide up to 30% of greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation needed by 2030 to limit the global average temperature rise to below 2°C. The COP 25 Presidency called for action on seven essential activities, from reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) and enhancing carbon sinks to increasing the ambition of nationally determined contributions (NDCs) through nature-based solutions (NBS) based on forest activities, including REDD+.
At the Dialogue, held on 12 December, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) Under Secretary-General, Liu Zhenmin, said DESA, through its work in support of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) and the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF), is committed to “playing its vital role in accelerating global efforts to halt deforestation” and promoting sustainable management of all types of forests. Zhenmin said implementing the UN Strategic Plan for Forests by 2030 will reverse forest loss, increase forests by 3% globally and help eradicate extreme-poverty for forest-dependent people.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) highlighted the importance of looking beyond the forest sector to identify the main drivers of deforestation. To accelerate action on deforestation and forest degradation, the FAO Director-General, Qu Dongyu, said “we need to find consensus to agree on reducing footprints of agricultural commodities.”
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) CEO, Naoko Ishii, called for transforming economic systems related to food and land use. She said the new four-year GEF-7 strategy reflects this need and focuses on “harnessing existing and emerging multi-stakeholder platforms committed to sustainability,” including important global companies from the food sector.
The UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) underlined the role of land-degradation neutrality (LDN) in helping countries identify and address the drivers of deforestation. UNCCD Executive Secretary, Ibrahim Thiaw, said SDG target 15.3 on LDN “provides the robust framework needed to keep land, including forests, healthy and resilient over the long haul.” He stressed the role of restoring degraded lands and maintaining healthy forests in keeping biodiversity, carbon, energy and food in balance and ensuring income and livelihoods.
The UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator, Achim Steiner, said supporting countries to tackle deforestation is “an essential component of climate action and thus of UNDP’s Climate Promise.” He described REDD+ as a “ready to go nature-based solution” and highlighted the UN-REDD Programme as a platform for the UN to support countries in raising their nature-based NDC ambitions.
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director, Inger Andersen, recommended focusing on nature-positive agriculture and other solutions. She highlighted the potential of adopting sustainable consumption and production (SCP) methods, cleaning up supply chains, putting a price on carbon and partnering with the private sector.
The UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa, said the REDD+ framework provides a “clear direction on how countries, civil society and the private sector can collaborate to reduce deforestation.” She emphasized the framework’s flexibility, noting that each country can adapt REDD+ to its national circumstances and enhance implementation over time.
The Leadership Dialogue also recognized that reducing deforestation requires an effort by all stakeholders, including engaging producers and consumers, local communities and indigenous peoples, women and youth. [UN DESA Press Release] [UNCCD Press Release] [Santiago Call for Action] [IISD RS Coverage of COP 25]