Green Climate Fund Deputy Executive Director Javier Manzanares called for enhanced efforts to link forest protection and climate action today while stressing the Fund’s desire to provide more finances to keep forests standing.
“The current rate of deforestation is as disturbing as it is unsustainable,” Mr Manzanares told participants at the Asia-Pacific Forestry Week 2019 now being held in Incheon, the Republic of Korea. “This decline of our planet’s lungs cannot be allowed to continue.”
Mr Manzanares pointed to recent figures indicating that 750 hectares of forest are being cleared each hour, which is equivalent to the release of 270,000 CO2 equivalent in greenhouse gases. “The need to decouple agricultural production from deforestation is obvious,” he added. “And this understanding is growing. But we are running out of time.”
While highlighting the continuing rise of emissions, Mr Manzanares stressed the need for urgent climate action as the there is only 11 years to keep global warming to within 1.5 degrees Celsius, as indicated in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment last year.
He noted the expansion of GCF’s portfolio of climate finance supporting forest and land use improvement, along with its decision in February to make the Fund’s first REDD+ results-based payment for national efforts to halt deforestation.
“There is, of course, much more that GCF can do to support change mitigation and adaptation by protecting and restoring forests,” added Mr Manzanares, while emphasising the importance of an ambitious and successful GCF replenishment this year.
During the morning plenary session on the second day of the Asia-Pacific Forestry Week, Indonesia’s Forestry and Environment Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar said her country’s recent decision to make permanent a moratorium on new forest clearing was a key plank in Indonesia’s efforts to halt deforestation.
Other panelists in the session were Ben Gunneberg, secretary general of the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification, and Moon Kook-Hyun, chairman of Friends of The Asia Foundation.
During the forestry week, the fourth of its kind to be held in the Asia Pacific, GCF is launching a new working paper “Accelerating REDD+ implementation,” following feedback from 56 countries on their progress in implementing REDD+.