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Agreement On $3.5bn Initial Funding For Deforestation At COP15

By Marianne de Nazareth

17 December, 2009

Copenhagen: Australia, France, Japan, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States have collectively agreed in the context of an ambitious and comprehensive outcome in Copenhagen to dedicate USD3.5bn as initial public finance towards slowing, halting and eventually reversing deforestation in developing countries.

They said, “ Actions to reduce emissions from forests can help to stabilize our climate, support livelihoods, provide biodiversity conservation, and promote economic development. As part of an ambitious and comprehensive deal, we recognise the significant role of international public finance in supporting developing countries' efforts to slow, halt and eventually reverse deforestation. With this in mind, we collectively dedicate USD3.5 billion of fast-start climate change financing for 'REDD+' over the 2010 to 2012 period. We regard this as an initial investment in developing countries that put forward ambitious REDD+ plans and that achieve forest emission reductions according to their respective

capabilities. We collectively commit to scaling up our finance thereafter in line with opportunities and the delivery of results. We invite other donors to join us in this effort to make early action on REDD+ a reality."

Climate Change affects all life on this planet from the smallest parasite like a mosquito, to the entire human race. The reason for this is simple. A single disruption in the Earth’s delicate balance can mean certain destruction of the very place that cradles the lives of many species. What is not so simple is finding alternatives to the now dangerous human acts of degradation that have afflicted the planet over decades. One such issue that requires consideration is deforestation. Trees have been or are being cut down at increasingly high rates. If this is not stopped the world is heading for catastrophe.

Tropical Rainforests presently are home to 50% - 90% of all organisms, 90% of the primates, and 50 million creatures cannot live anywhere else but the rich rainforests. Not only are other species at risk, but the human race also benefits from what the trees give. From something as minor as the spices that make our food interesting, to life giving medicines, the rainforests amplify and save lives. According to the World Rainforest Movement, 25% of medicines come from the forests. This is a number that does not do justice to all the cures that have yet to be discovered or that have been destroyed. The forests give life, not only to other species, but they help to prolong the life of the human race.

The UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown spoke about the UK’s commitment to the project, "Deforestation accounts for almost a fifth of global emissions, and the forests of the rainforest nations provide a global service in soaking up the pollution of the world. Unless action is taken, these forests could be lost forever, impacting not only the global climate but on the livelihoods of 90% of the 1.2 billion people living in extreme poverty who rely on forest resources for their survival. An agreement to slow, halt and eventually reverse deforestation has to be central to the outcome here in Copenhagen. Around $25 billion over the period of 2010-15 is needed to cut deforestation rates in developing countries by 25% by 2015. Developed countries should provide the majority of this, supporting rainforest countries' own efforts. This collective fast start effort is a very significant building block towards that. The UK's contribution to this initial effort is $480million, part of the overall UK fast start package I announced last week. I will be putting every possible effort into strengthening the collective effort and working with all nations to reach the most ambitious climate deal."

The forests have global implications not just on life but on the quality of it. Trees improve the quality of the air that species breathe by trapping carbon and other dirt particles produced by pollution. Trees determine the rainfall and cleanse the air that we breathe. As more water gets put back in the atmosphere, clouds form and help to block out the sun’s heat. Trees also cool and regulate the earth’s climate in conjunction with other such valuable services as preventing soil erosion, landslides, and transforming the most infertile soil to a rich with life.

( The writer is a fellow with the UNFCCC)

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