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New York Declaration on Forests – Action Statements and Action Plans

About 130 governments, companies, civil society and indigenous peoples pledged to reduce forest loss to half by 2020 and to end it in 2030 at the New York Declaration on Forests.

It will help in the restoration of more than 350 million hectares of forests and croplands which could prevent emissions of carbon dioxide between 4.5 and 8.8 billion tons by 2030. Consequently, this would significantly add up to the climate benefits and take pressure off primary forests.

Many multinational companies from food, paper, finance and other industries, civil society organizations and various indigenous people from Peru to Nepal endorsed the Declaration at the Climate Summit. European countries like Belgium, France, Germany, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway and United Kingdom; some South American countries like Chile, Colombia, Guyana and Peru; countries from North America such as Costa Rica, Mexico and United States of America; many African nations like Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia and Togo and several Asian countries like Indonesia, Japan, Nepal, Mongolia, Republic of Korea, Philippines and Vietnam also endorsed the New York Declaration.

India did not participate in this declaration. Eliminating deforestation as its priority, the Declaration, a non-legally binding political instrument, will be aiming to restrict the politics from entering next year’s Paris climate talks. “The New York Declaration aims to reduce more climate pollution each year than the United States emits annually. Forests are not only a critical part of the climate solution – they hold multiple benefits for all members of society,” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. Several specific commitments were promised by some big companies in support of zero deforestation and protection of forests at the Summit. Large-scale economic incentives are expected to be announced by Germany, Norway and the United Kingdom as part of the Paris climate talks in 2015.

The Indigenous peoples from Asia, Africa, Central America and the Amazon Basin promised to manage protection of more than 400 million hectares of tropical forests representing the storage of more than 85 gigatons of carbon dioxide. Many large European countries committed to develop new public procurement policies to source forest-intensive commodities sustainably.

This is expected to have a significant market impact by leveraging the buying power of some of the world’s largest economies. As a contribution to the Summit, the Consumer Goods Forum – a coalition of 400 companies with combined revenue of more than US$3 trillion – also called on governments to pass a legally binding climate deal in Paris in 2015 that includes REDD+, including large-scale payments to countries that reduce deforestation. The global food companies are a part of the Forum.

“The New York Declaration sends an unmistakable signal going into Paris 2015,” said Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway. “Science tells us we won’t limit global warming to two degrees without massive efforts on forests. Today, forward-thinking leaders in government, business and civil society together have begun the push to enact policies, change practices and put in place appropriate incentives to end deforestation.”

“This is a serious commitment for a serious challenge,” said Heru Prasetyo, head of Indonesia’s REDD+ Agency. “With the strong partnership of key actors from governments, industry, indigenous and local communities, as well as the international community, I am confident we can achieve this groundbreaking vision.” “Our planet is losing forests at a rate of eight football fields every ten seconds,” said Carter Roberts, President and Chief Executive Officer of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). “Today we’ve seen important commitments from companies, governments, civil society and indigenous peoples to halt this trend. Now it is time for urgent collaboration to see these commitments realized on the ground.”

Leaders from all across the world sent a strong signal that deforestation will no longer be tolerated for the sake of development. Industries have shown a serious concern over this so far neglected issue. The consumers have become more aware about the effects and prevention of deforestation in relation to pollution. Deforestation has always been an overlooked source of carbon dioxide emissions but is in fact a significant contributor to climate change as huge amounts of carbon dioxide is released by burning of trees during slash-and-burn land clearing of forests.

This Declaration would help mitigate billions of tons of climate pollution per year and restore 350 million hectares of forests.

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