Energy and Climate Secretary Edward Davey today outlined new innovative plans to tackle deforestation as part of the UK’s international climate change commitments.
The Government has set out plans for working with the private sector and rainforest countries so that the timber and foodstuffs we buy do not cause deforestation. The new plan addresses the economic and commercial drivers of deforestation by working with the private sector for more sustainable supply chains for these products and foodstuffs.
Under the International Climate Fund, up to £300m is available for these activities. UK programmes under the International Climate Fund are expected to support sustainable growth in forest countries, and boost the incomes of thousands of poor people who depend on the forests for their livelihoods. The Government is committed to ensuring all spend achieves value for money and so will be testing the appropriate allocation further in the design process. Through these programmes, the UK is playing its part to help save tens of millions of hectares from being deforested, and help to conserve biodiversity.
Edward Davey made the announcement during a forestry summit at Clarence House, co-hosted by the Prince of Wales. He said:
“The urgency of tackling climate change is clear and limiting global warming to 2°C limit will be extremely challenging – if not impossible – without a significant reduction in deforestation before 2020. This is why this Government is taking action now to tackle deforestation, address climate change, and support greener growth and sustainable development.
“We want to accelerate our international commitments to reduce deforestation. That’s why we are keen to work with forest nations that are strongly committed to tackling this issue. We will also work with other donor countries, including Norway, US and Germany and Australia to tackle deforestation at the forthcoming UN climate change negotiations in Doha and beyond.”
During the event, the Secretary of State also announced a new £15m programme under the International Climate Fund to develop climate change mitigation plans and poverty alleviation in Colombia. This involves supporting smallholder farmers to plant trees on cattle grazing land, to increase biodiversity, improve the livelihood of farmers, reduce carbon emissions, and protect local forests.
Tackling deforestation is a central part of how to address climate change, while reducing poverty and protecting biodiversity. Up to 17% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from deforestation, and around 13 million hectares of forest are lost every year. An estimated 1.2bn poor people depend on forests for their livelihoods, and forests hold up to 80% of global terrestrial species.