At the Global Landscapes Forum in Paris, Australia is proud to announce that we are leading a new international push to create a Global Rainforest Recovery Plan – building on the success of the Asia-Pacific Rainforest Recovery Plan.
Just over a year ago in Sydney, Australia hosted the inaugural Asia-Pacific Rainforest Summit.
Attracting more than 300 delegates from around the region, the Summit kick-started the process to protect and ultimately restore Asia-Pacific’s rainforests with the creation of Asia-Pacific Rainforest Recovery Plan.
Australia is now working to take this plan global.
We want a Global Rainforest Plan to slow, halt and reverse the loss of our rainforests which:
• harnesses the efforts and resources of rainforest nations, partner countries, civil society, non-government organisations, international organisations and the private sector;
• builds on the Asia-Pacific Rainforest Recovery Plan model to ensure that forest nations’ priorities and aspirations are at the centre of our collective global efforts;
• complements and enhances existing initiatives and commitments.
What makes this plan different from other approaches is that it brings together not just governments, but also key private sector, civil society organisations and non-government organisations.
It is about using all the tools at our disposal to reduce deforestation and restore degraded rainforest areas.
In 2013, Science magazine estimated the loss of 2.3 million square kilometres of forest from 2000 to 2012.
Over the past two decades as the world focussed on formally addressing climate change through the international climate change conferences, much of the effort has been on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from power stations, transport and industry.
Rainforests, often referred to as the lungs of world, have an incredible capacity to absorb greenhouse gases, as do mangrove swamps, seagrasses and the much of world’s arable land.
Estimates put this capacity at billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. That has the potential to have a very significant impact on the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
At a global level, addressing climate change means not only limiting the amount of greenhouse gasses going up, but maximising what is returned to the earth.
Australia’s commitment to a Global Rainforest Recovery Plan reaffirms our standing as a leader on delivering practical solutions to complex climate change problems – none more so than on rainforests.
Our Global Rainforest Recovery Plan has already gained strong support from governments, NGOs and the private sector.
This includes, among others, Papua New Guinea, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Global Environment Facility, the Clinton Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, Kelloggs, Credit Suisse and Baker McKenzie.
I am confident that the momentum of support for this important issue will continue to grow.