UN URGENT: End Deforestation, Conserve World's Forests

For Immediate Release

Global Forest Coalition
Contact: 

Gemma Tillack: The Wilderness Society and youth caucus +61 427 057 643

Claire Spoors: Global Witness +49 1763 546 3586

Joao Talocchi: Greenpeace Brazil  +55 11 8351 0169

UN URGENT: End Deforestation, Conserve World's Forests

Countdown for Survival: Global groups make an urgent call to end deforestation and conserve the world's forests during UN Climate Talks

WASHINGTON -  A coalition of youth, environmental groups, NGOs, Indigenous Peoples
organizations and women's groups delivered a plea to negotiators asking
them to ensure a strong climate deal and warning them that they will
put our survival at risk if they do not act immediately to halt
deforestation and the industrial logging of the world's primary forests
(forest degradation). [Signatories and statement below in NOTE 1]

"Survival is not negotiable. The climate deal signed in Copenhagen
needs to ensure the survival of all countries and people. The immediate
protection of the world's forests is no longer just an option, it is
essential to ensure a safe climate for us and our kids," stated youth
spokesperson Gemma Tillack.

The coalitions' plea asks delegates to ensure that any climate deal:

--Immediately ends deforestation, industrial scale logging in primary
forests and the conversion of forests to monoculture tree crops, plantations; 
--Protects the world's biodiverse forests including primary forests in
developed countries (e.g. Australia, Canada and Russia) and tropical forests in developing countries;
--Respects the rights of women, Indigenous peoples and local
communities and allow them to lead healthy and sustainable lives whilst
stopping deforestation and industrial logging of primary forests in
their country; and
--Does not allow developed countries to use forest protection and the
avoiding deforestation and industrial scale logging of primary forests
in other countries as an offset mechanism for their own emissions.

"The forest is our life, without the forests we would not exist.
Avoiding deforestation and stopping industrial logging will allow
Indigenous peoples to live and will secure our future," said Adolphine
Muley, of the Union pour l'Emancipation de la Femme Autochtone in the
Democratic Republic of Congo. 

"We need to ensure that climate change mitigation plans do not drive
the establishment of monoculture tree plantations. The rapid ongoing
direct and indirect replacement of forests by plantations is a
significant cause of social and environmental harm and contributes
significantly to climate change," said Diego Cardona from Friends of
the Earth -Colombia and the Global Forest Coalition.

"The definition of forests in the climate change negotiations includes
monoculture tree plantations thus allowing their promotion disguised as
forests in market-based mechanisms that could be used in REDD. All
countries need to accept and adopt a forest definition in the climate
deal that clearly distinguishes forests from monoculture tree
plantations," said Raquel Nunez from the World Rainforest Movement.

"A commitment to protect biodiversity and halt deforestation in primary
forests would send a positive signal to the global community that we
are on the right path towards avoiding a climate disaster," said Joao
Talocchi from Greenpeace Brazil.

"Developed countries like Australia, Canada and Russia need to stop
undermining the climate negotiations. They should stop industrial
logging and woodchipping of their biodiverse forests, permanently
protect their own carbon reservoirs and start accounting for their
emissions from forestry activities. Only then can they ask developing
countries to protect their forests," said Claire Spoors from Global
Witness.

Ms. Tillack concluded saying, "We need to act now to secure a safe
climate and peak our emissions by 2015. Every day of delay results in
the release of huge amounts of dangerous carbon dioxide into the
atmosphere. We can not wait to take these first steps to ensuring our
survival."

NOTE:
[1] The coalition of youth, environmental groups, NGOs, Indigenous
peoples' Organizations, women's groups who have signed this survival
plea include:
International Youth caucus in Bonn
Ecosystems Climate Alliance
Global Forest Coalition
The Wilderness Society
World Rainforest Movement
Global Witness
Greenpeace
Rainforest Action Network
Wetlands International
Rainforest Foundation Norway
Rainforest Foundation UK
FERN
Friends of the Earth
Sobrevivencia/FoE-Paraguay
Indigenous Environmental Network
Global Justice Ecology Project
CORE India
Life gender, Environment and Diversity Germany
Sustainable Population Australia
Tanzania Forest Conservation Group
the Tanzania Community Forest Conservation Network MJUMITA
Stop GE Tree Campaign
RAVA Institute Indonesia
SWBC Nepal
Timberwatch Coalition South Africa
Pacific Indigenous Peoples Environment Coalition
Friends of the Siberian Forests Russia
Focus on the Global South
Women´s Environment Network Australia
Biofuelwatch
Women Environmental Programme Nigeria
Just Environment
COECO-CEIBA-Friends of the Earth Costa Rica
WALHI-Friends of the Earth-Indonesia
Down to Earth
Carbon Trade Watch
Women's Environment and Development Organization
Watch Indonesia
Asociacion ANDES Peru
Ecologistas en Accion Spain
Sustainable Energy and Economy Network
North East Peoples Alliance on Trade, Finance and Development India
WISE Inc. Philippines
GenderCC
FASE Solidarity and Education Brazil
Global Exchange
Kingdom Narintarakul Thai Working group for Climate Justice
Union pour l'Emancipation de la Femme Autochtone

Plea:

 Halt Climate Change ---- Halt Forest destruction ---- Halt Plantations
The undersigned broad coalition of NGOs, Indigenous Peoples'
Organizations and women's groups call upon the Parties to the FCCC to
take into account the critical role of forest conservation in climate
change mitigation. The protection of forest biodiversity is vital for
life on earth. Native forest ecosystems  provide us with clean air,
clean water, a safe climate, food, fodder and shelter and they are an
important part of our global and cultural identity. Forests provide
aesthetic and intrinsic values. Indigenous Peoples and traditional
local communities of the forests are the guardians and original
conservationists  of the forest. They maintain a food sustenance and
socio-cultural relationship to the forests based on their cosmovision. 

For that reason, we call upon Parties to:

- Immediately put in place rights-based and equitable policies and
institutions to halt deforestation and forest degradation and the
destruction of other natural ecosystems like peatlands and grasslands
in all continents

- Identify and address the direct and underlying causes of deforestation and forest degradation;

- Ensure that these policies and measures uphold international human
rights and environmental standards and are  fully consistent with the
UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This includes the
effective adoption and implementation by all Parties and all UN
agencies and multilateral banks of the Right to Free Prior and Informed
Consent of Indigenous Peoples and local forest dependent communities;

- Ensure that these policies take into account the specific role,
rights and interests of women and are fully consistent with Convention
on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women;

- Ensure that these policies are fully consistent with the Convention
on Biodiversity and its Expanded Program of Work on Forest Biodiversity
and contribute meaningfully to conserving and enhancing biodiversity
and related cultural diversity, traditional knowledge and spirituality;

- Explicitly exclude the establishment and management of monoculture
tree plantations, including genetically modified tree plantations, and
the practice of industrial logging from these policies. This also
implies adopting a forest definition that clearly distinguishes forests
from monoculture tree plantations;

- Ensure any policies intended to reduce deforestation and forest
degradation include measures to reduce consumption of forest products,
especially in the Industrialized North;

- Ensure these policies secure the fair and equitable sharing of the
benefits of forests and other ecosystems, both between countries and
within countries, taking into account the critical role of Indigenous
Peoples, local communities and women in conserving and restoring
forests and other ecosystems. This also implies recognizing the
customary and collective land tenure and forest rights of Indigenous
Peoples and ensuring the full and effective participation of Indigenous
Peoples, local communities and women in all decision-making processes
related to forests;

We call upon developed countries to recognize the historical debt to
developing countries caused by their excessive greenhouse gas
emissions. This implies immediate and drastic cuts in their domestic
greenhouse gas emissions (45% by 2020/ 95% by 2050 as an absolute
minimum) AS WELL AS providing sufficient financial and technological
support to enable developing countries to halt the destruction of
forests and other ecosystems. It is too late for either/or policies.
Any form of carbon offsetting, including CDM
afforestation/reforestation and REDD offset projects will only increase
the ecological footprint and carbon debt of developed countries and
must thus be avoided. (Due to a broad range of ethical, social and
methodological risks, forest-based carbon offsets will undermine an
effective, equitable and socially just climate regime.) Climate change
mitigation and sustainable forest management must be based on different
mindsets with full respect for Nature, and not on carbon offset
mechanisms. Public funding mechanisms that ensure environmental
integrity and equitable distribution of funds must be made established.

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