Forest ministers from around the world will gather today to discuss the future of the forests at the start of the Fifth Conference of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) at the UN's headquarters in New York. Greenpeace is calling on governments to bring an end to the UNFF talk-shop which to date has done nothing to protect the forests nor the communities or the biodiversity that they house and create a legally binding agreement that will ensure the protection of the world's last remaining ancient forests.
Since the UN Summit on Environment and Development in Rio in
1992, theloss of the world's last ancient forests continues at
alarming rates.During the last 13 years the world lost an area of
forest greater thanthe size of France, Spain, Sweden and Germany
combined. The manyinternational meetings by governments to address
this issue, includingthe UNFF, have so far proved to be
ineffective, unproductive and amajor financial drain of public
Greenpeace is urging the international community to focus their
effortsinstead on the adoption of a legally binding Protocol on
forests underthe Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which
has a much strongertrack record in making agreements that are in
the interests of localcommunities, indigenous peoples and
biodiversity. This agreement shouldestablish measures that will
help governments achieve the global goalset by the World Summit on
Sustainable Development 10 years after Rioto reduce and halt the
loss of forest biodiversity by 2010, byfacilitating new money to
fund forest conservation and ecologicallyresponsible forest
management as well as regulating the uncontrolledinternational
The last ancient forests in both the North and the South,
contain overtwo third of the world's terrestrial biodiversity.
Biodiversityloss is a global concern, which requires global action.
Internationaltrade from producer to consumer regions is a key
factor causing thisforest crisis. A strong, effective, fair and
legally bindingmultilateral environmental agreement is essential to
help address thisproblem.
"The current crisis facing the world's ancient forests, such
asaccelerating rates of species loss and deforestation,
requiresimmediate attention and strong political will to shift the
devastatingtrend," said Martin Kaiser, Greenpeace International
ForestsCampaigner. "Forest dependent peoples do not need any
morerecycling of "nice" words on 'UN paper'. World leaders need to
taketheir cue from the Kyoto Protocol and create a similar legally
bindingagreement for the last Ancient Forests."
Other contacts: Martin Kaiser, Greenpeace International Forests Campaigner, +49 171 8780 817Gina Sanchez, Greenpeace International Communications, +31 627 00 00 64