24.09.2014

New York Climate Summit launches new initiatives to protect forests

River bifurcation in the forest

Aerial photograph of a forest area; picture: Cyro Jose Soares

Many new initiatives to protect tropical forests have been presented at the UN Climate Summit. The "New York Declaration on Forests" presented today aims to stop deforestation by 2030 and establish deforestation-free supply chains. On the side-lines of the summit, Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks formed a new partnership with Norway and Peru to protect Peruvian forests.

Hendricks: "Protecting forests is one of the most effective means to combat climate change, and to do so we must address the root causes of deforestation. The New York Declaration on Forests that we will adopt today gives grounds for hope. It brings together an unprecedented coalition of over 150 governments, companies, and civil society and indigenous groups to protect forests.

Every year, more than 13 million hectares of forest disappear, around half of that for the manufacture of products such as soy, palm oil, paper and meat. The New York Declaration aims to stop deforestation in developing countries by 2030 and establish supply chains that do not require deforestation at all. The declaration was initiated by Germany, the United Kingdom and Norway, the three largest donors in the field of forest protection as a contribution to climate action in developing countries.

The German Government is supporting the implementation of the New York Declaration with a new financial commitment to protecting tropical forests. Germany has agreed, together with the United Kingdom and Norway, to finance forest protection programmes in up to 20 developing countries in the future if these programmes are accompanied by measurable emission reductions and the avoidance of deforestation. This aims to encourage developing countries to create legal and technical frameworks to protect their forests.

On the sidelines of the Climate Summit, Germany and Norway established a new forest-protection partnership with Peru. Together with Peru's President Ollanta Humala and Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Hendricks signed a corresponding Letter of Intent, in which Peru agrees to reduce its CO2 emissions from deforestation quickly and decisively. By 2021, Peru intends to be climate neutral in terms of land use and forestry. The rights of indigenous forest dwellers are also to be significantly expanded.

Peru's tropical forests are one of the largest carbon sinks in the world. Hendricks spoke of a "unique ecosystem of global importance" that must be preserved. Germany already provides support for forest preservation in Peru with more than 10 million euros in funding from the Federal Environment Ministry and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. This support will be continued and, depending on the progress in Peru, expanded further by the German Government.