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Implementing Article 5 of the Paris Agreement and achieving climate neutrality through forests: From COFO24 to COP24

23/07/2018

On 16 July 2018, government representatives, civil society and international organizations gathered for the high-level side event co-hosted by Poland’s Presidency for COP24 and FAO entitled “Implementing Article 5 of the Paris Agreement and achieving climate neutrality through forests”. It took place during the 6th World Forest Week at FAO Headquarters in Rome, Italy and highlighted the catalytic and driving role of forests in strengthening efforts to implement the Paris Agreement.

Article 5 of the Paris Agreement invites countries to take action to conserve and enhance sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gases, including forests. The article also encourages actions to implement and support, including through results-based payments, the existing Warsaw Framework for REDD+ adopted in COP 19, and alternative policy approaches such as sustainable management of forests. 

At the same time, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of ending hunger and poverty while making agriculture and food systems sustainable will require food system transformations and strategies that leverage the food system to boost economic growth in countries where industrialization is lagging. “The Paris Agreement and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes that we need to look at food security and the management of natural resources together. Both global agreements call for a coherent and integrated approach across all agricultural sectors. Forests and forestry have key roles to play in this regard” said FAO Deputy Director-General of Programmes, Dan Gustafson.

The world continues to make progress in all dimensions of sustainable forest management. Although forests continue to be lost, the rate of loss has been cut by 25% since the period 2000-2005. Promisingly, the proportion of protected forest area and forests under long-term management plans are increasing. Deforestation and forest degradation are still concern in some regions, particularly in the tropics, indicating the need for more action to reduce deforestation and implement sustainable forest and land management practices.
Sustainable and effective forest and peatlands management cannot be achieved without the involvement of local communities and civil society who can bring valuable knowledge and a fresh viewpoint to discussions. Innovative forest monitoring tools available today are crucial in efforts to demonstrate the reduction of deforestation,” said H.E. Siti Nurbaya, Minister of Environment and Forests, Indonesia.

Actions to reduce emission levels arising from deforestation and forest degradation and to enhance forest carbon sinks are one of the most significant and cost-effective ways to reduce global emissions, while also producing important adaptation, biodiversity, livelihood and development benefits. “Improving the income and living conditions of local communities and indigenous peoples while ensuring the conservation of biodiversity is one of the main outcomes expected from the implementation of programmes and projects related to sustainable forest management,” said H.E. Rosalie Matondo, Minister of Forest Economy, Republic of Congo.

Ms Beth MacNeil, Assistant Deputy Minister, Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service shared the example of the Clean Energy for Rural and Remote Communities Program intended to fund initiatives to reduce reliance on diesel fuel in Canada's rural and remote communities, the majority of which are Indigenous. Part of this programming will support the use of the forest biomass in producing heat and power.

Mr Slawomir Mazurek, Undersecretary of State, Ministry of the Environment, Republic of Poland and the host of COP24, highlighted the importance of innovations and developing enabling conditions for the use of wood for housing and energy efficiency in buildings. He stressed that Poland promotes integrating the protection of forests with their multiple uses, through sustainable management practices, as a way to implement Article 5 of the Paris Agreement.

Forests are one of the priority topics for COP24 Presidency, including the COP24 President himself, who attaches great importance to this topic. We see and recognise the vital role which forests play in achieving climate neutrality,” he said.

We must keep the momentum from the discussions here at COFO24, toward COP24, and beyond, and ensure the message that forests have not only a huge catalytic role but a driving role to bring along other sectors. We must work together across sectors to ensure their potential is fully realised,” was the conclusion of Tiina Vahanen, Forestry Department, FAO, in her closing remarks.

The lively dialogue was moderated by UN-REDD Secretariat Head, Mario Boccucci.

For event pictures, see FAO Forestry Flickr album

 

For more information, please contact:

Malgorzata Buszko-Briggs

Programme Officer, REDD+/National Forest Monitoring Cluster

Forestry Department, FAO

Malgorzata.BuszkoBriggs@fao.org

 

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