UN and Norway Unite to Combat Climate Change from Deforestation

10/6/2008 // Tropical forested countries are stepping up the fight to combat climate change via a pioneering new initiative called the UN-REDD Programme announced today.

The Programme, to be carried out by three United Nations agencies, was unveiled by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Prime Minister of Norway Jens Stoltenberg whose government is financing this initial phase in the amount of US$35 million.

"Quick Start Program"

Nine countries have already expressed formal interest in receiving assistance through the UN-REDD Programme – Bolivia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Tanzania, Viet Nam, and Zambia.

Some among them like, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Tanzania will “quick start” their efforts through developing national strategies, establishing robust systems for monitoring, assessment, reporting and verification of forest cover and carbon stocks, and building necessary capabilities – with support to others to follow in  due course.

The UN Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) Programme will support these countries as part of an international move to include REDD in new and more comprehensive UN climate change arrangements to kick-in post 2012.

 Important Role in post-2012 Climate Regime

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that the cutting down of forests is now contributing close to 20 per cent of the overall greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere.

Mr. Ban said: “The battle against climate change cannot be won without the world’s forests—this is now clear. This initiative will not only demonstrate how forests can have an important role as part of a post-2012 climate regime, expected from the December 2009 Copenhagen climate change conference. It will also help build much needed confidence that the world community is ready to support the implementation of an inclusive, ambitious, and comprehensive climate regime once it is ratified”.

“This initiative is also a concrete illustration of the UN system’s commitment to provide coordinated support to Member States in responding to their climate change challenges. We appreciate Norway’s partnership in our effort to help the global community address this shared challenge.”

Continued Support From Norway

Mr. Stoltenberg commented: “We must reduce deforestation if we are to succeed in fighting climate change”.

Through concerted international efforts we can achieve major reductions quickly, said Mr. Stoltenberg, underlining the need to work out international standards for measuring, reporting and verifying emissions from deforestation and degradation.

“The UN-REDD initiative is a quick start action programme that aims to demonstrate that early results are possible in some of the major forests of the world. And to do so through the UN ‘delivering as one’: That is why Norway has decided to finance the UN-REDD Programme,” he said.

The Norwegian Prime Minister concluded: “Fighting greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation is a priority for Norway now and also in the years to come. If we are successful in stage one, Norway will certainly continue support for the UN-REDD Programme and on an even more substantial scale”.

The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO); the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) are to implement the new programme in the spirit of the UN ‘Delivering as One’. Each agency will bring unique skills and knowledge to the Programme in order to maximise its success.

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