Political solutions

Background - 3 February, 2011
Greenpeace is campaigning for an end to all deforestation of tropical rainforests by 2020 - a step that is critical to protecting the global climate, biodiversity and forest dependent communities. To get there, we need massive, coordinated political action on an international and national scale.

An international political solution

Greenpeace activists expose a forest crime scene in the Amazon, Brazil, in 2005.

To end deforestation globally, the international community must urgently agree on a mechanism to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation in developing countries - where most of the world's remaining ancient forests are found.

Greenpeace is lobbying for an international framework that could do just that. This mechanism or program is known as 'reduced emissions from degradation and deforestation' (REDD).

We are campaigning for massive funding to be made available to developing countries to increase their capacities to manage and monitor their forests to protect the global climate, as well as to develop economic alternatives to tropical forest destruction.

But forests are more than carbon stores; they are home to a wide variety of life. Any deal must also safeguard biodiversity and the integrity of natural forests, including the protection of and respect for indigenous peoples' rights.

A good REDD deal would quickly (and relatively cheaply) reduce greenhouse gas emissions, protect biodiversity and benefit local and indigenous peoples. A bad deal would allow corporations to keep destroying forests whilst claiming to protect them and would exclude forest communities from discussions that will directly affect their lives.

National political solutions

Kumi Naidoo (Greenpeace) and representatives of Indonesian civil society at the Dialogue on Moratorium, REDD and Roadmap to Zero Deforestation, Indonesia.

Any international forest protection programs need to be enforced on a national level, in both producer and consumer countries.

Producer countries need the resources to rigorously monitor and enforce forest protection on the ground, as well as the political will to embrace transparency. Greenpeace is working with civil society on the ground in several countries - from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Indonesia - to this end.

Consumer countries must recognise that demand from their markets is fuelling this environmental disaster, and ensure their forest products can be traced to non-destructive sources. Greenpeace works to investigate, document and expose the chain of destruction that allows ancient rainforest products to end up on our supermarket shelves.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

From June 3 - 14, the world's Governments will meet in Bonn to discuss the way forward for United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) will be on the agenda, and we are present to remind governments that we need a credible REDD+ deal that protects natural forests and respects the rights of indigenous peoples and other forest dependent communities.

In order to be successful and sustainable, it is critical that an international REDD framework is not only focused on measuring emissions, but delivers benefits beyond carbon. These include the protection of biodiversity, ensuring good governance, and the protection of peoples' rights. Governments have in principle agreed that these are important, and have thus established important safeguard principles to ensure a proper implementation of REDD. There is a risk however that REDD becomes an alibi for polluters to 'offset' their own fossil fuel emissions by creating and buying 'carbon credits' from forest projects instead of reducing their emissions. In order to help Government delegates find real solutions for people and forests, international NGOs have provided them a detailed explanation of why and how "Non-Carbon Benefits in REDD+" should be incentivized and monitored. Read here:
Non-Carbon Benefits in REDD+: Providing Incentives and addressing methodological issues

If we want to save forests, we need to tackle the root causes of destruction, the "Drivers of Deforestation". These drivers are often found outside the forest countries themselves, for example in excessive demand for and consumption of unsustainable or even illegal forest products. Without global action to tackle international, transboundary drivers of deforestation, the goal of halting forest destruction would be seriously undermined. Some governments don't want to talk about international deforestation causes at the UN and argue it could interfere with other trade agreements such as the WTO. Greenpeace, the Environmental Investigation Agency, and the Center for International Environmental Law have developed a short paper for governments explaining why this argument is flawed and showing that the UNFCCC is indeed very able to tackle international drivers of deforestation:
REDD: Addressing the Drivers – A case for the WTO?