New global partnership announce bold forest aims

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For those who have missed it, one of the key development for forested counties was the announcement of the formation of the Forest and Climate Leaders Partnership (FCLP) on COP 27. This is an alliance of forest and consumer countries formed with the aim of maintaining forest cover worldwide as part of the effort to limit global warming to less than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Among the FCLP’s roles, states the UN Climate Change News website, is to boost action to implement the commitment made by over 140 countries at COP 26 to halt forest loss and degradation by 2030.

Initially 27 countries have joined the FCLP – and members include both the EU and some of its individual states. NGO Fern points out that this represents less than a quarter of the number that signed up to the Glasgow Forests and Land Use Declaration. However, the UN says that the first FCLP members represent 60% of global GDP and 33% of the world’s forests and more are clearly hoped to join.

‘Action areas’ of the FCLP include mobilizing public and donor finance to help fund implementation of the Glasgow commitment, supporting indigenous peoples’ and community forest initiatives and incentivizing conservation of high-integrity forests. Other targets are to ‘strengthen and scale carbon markets for forests’ and to engage and ‘shift’ the private finance system in forest maintenance.

The FCLP is co-chaired by the US and Ghana, it will hold meetings and publish a Global Progress Report every year including assessments of global progress toward the 2030 forest loss goal. At the first FCLP meeting it was announced that Germany was doubling its finance for forests to $2 billion through 2025 and would support establishment of the Partnership’s secretariat. An additional $3.6 billion of private capital funding for the cause was also announced.

The establishment of the ‘loss and damage’ fund for developing countries was also heralded as key for helping developing countries maintain and restore forest cover, as well as helping mitigate other adverse social, health and well-being impacts of climate change. But the detail was fiercely argued. Notably the EU’s insistence that big economies still classed as developing countries under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change rules should not be recipients of the fund. Poorer developing countries saw this as an attempt to divide them from bigger economies like China and opposed it. However a compromise was eventually struck by which vulnerable developing countries will be prioritized for funding and voluntary contributions can be made by the larger economies still categorized developing.