On 11 March, a one-day ministerial meeting on forests was held in Paris, where around 60 countries moved forward on an initiative launched in Copenhagen by Australia, Britain, France, Japan, Norway and the United States to create a multi-billion-dollar scheme to reduce emissions from deforestation. From 2010 to 2012, a pledged total of US$3.5 billion would be available to reward poor developing countries with large tropical forests that try to preserve their forests. Issues on the table at the meeting were related to disbursement procedures; defining which forests to protect; conservation measures; transparency enforcement; support to indigenous forest inhabitants; the avoidance of overlap in efforts; and the creation of a steering committee with an equal representation between developing and developed countries. Also, at the meeting, Germany announced it would join this forestry initiative by committing 20-30 percent of its budget pledged under the Copenhagen Accord.
British Minister and Secretary of State for energy and climate change, Joan Ruddock, told AFP “There was a tremendous mood of determination to get things done. I regard this as quite a breakthrough, actually.” To read the full press release, click here.
Earlier that week, Norway’s Environment Minister, Erik Solheim, told Reuters that "The idea is to establish a partnership of everyone who wants to be included,… even if you don’t contribute one single dollar, even if you don’t have a single tree.” Although this partnership initiative has been established outside the premises of the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, the partnership aims to reinforce UN negotiations on a deal to slow deforestation.
Asked how the US$3.5 billion would be spent, Mr. Solheim said: "The money is under national control of each government but we want to establish mechanisms in the United Nations and the World Bank on how to use the money."
"I think that it will be a mixture of bilateral agreements of the type we have ... as well as global schemes within the UN and the World Bank," he said, adding that each forested nation had sovereignty to manage its natural resources.
To read the full interview, click here.