New UN international partnership to fight climate change by increasing forestry

The Australian forest industry warmly welcomes the Forests and Climate Leaders’ Partnership, an international initiative announced at the UN General Assembly. The Partnership will drive further climate mitigation activities across the globe, by recognising the role of forestry in decreasing CO2 levels.

At COP26 in Glasgow, more than 140 countries pledged to work together to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030, while delivering sustainable development and promoting rural transformation. Australia is a signatory to this ‘Glasgow Pledge’.

Whilst the Glasgow pledge was significant, strong action is still required to make it a reality. The Forests and Climate Leaders’ Partnership will meet annually to maximise progress of forests and sustainable land use in contributing to global and national climate goals. Its first meeting will be held in Egypt at COP27 and will include public presentations from countries highlighting the most ambitious examples of halting forest loss and expanding the forest estate since COP26.

The first meeting will include discussion related to high integrity carbon markets for forests and building robust forest economies that contribute to the Paris Agreement goal of limiting average global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees.

Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) Chair, Diana Gibbs, has welcomed the Forests and Climate Leaders’ Partnership recognition that sustainable forestry and timber production are vital to climate change mitigation.

“If the world is to achieve its ambitious climate targets, there needs to be an expansion of the forest estate across the globe. This expansion will include biodiversity plantings, but also forests for sustainable harvest and replanting of trees for timber and other products.

“The Forest and Climate Leaders’ Partnership acknowledges the need for an increased global forestry estate and we support its progress.

“Australia is a world-leader in forestry and sustainable timber production and we have a real opportunity to lead the world here.

“The increase in demand for forest products around the globe, as well as Australia’s net zero by 2050 goal, means Australia’s decision makers need to intensify their efforts to increase sustainable supply of timber and fibre, not just to fight climate change, but to ensure supply of local renewable and sustainable products as well.

“With the increased pressure on Australia from international peers to grow its forest estate, the Clean Energy Regulator will need increased resources to process additional carbon methodologies to halt forest loss and increase the forest estate,” Diana Gibbs concluded.

Background

On 21 September 2022 the COP26 President, Alok Sharma, spoke to the UN General Assembly and invited world leaders to come together at COP27 to establish the ‘Forest and Climate Leaders Partnership’.

Supporting voices of the initiative included:

  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada
  • President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon
  • President Mohamed Irfaan Ali of Guyana
  • Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stre of Norway
  • John Kerry, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate
  • Gustavo Manrique Miranda, Minister of the Environment and Water of Ecuador
  • Sung-hyun Nam, Minister for Korea Forest Service, Republic of Korea

Every member country of the new Forest and Climate Leaders’ Partnership initiative will commit to a leadership role, driving forward at least one of the action areas, which include:

  • Scaling up sustainable land use enterprises, forest positive economies and supply chains
  • Mobilising forest-positive public and private finance
  • Supporting Indigenous Peoples’ and local communities’ initiatives and applicable tenure rights.

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