Hundreds of forestry experts, activists, policymakers, global leaders and climate change negotiators will gather on the sidelines of the UNFCCC climate talks in Doha on Sunday for the sixth annual Forest Day. Discussions at this event are expected to focus on how forests can be better harnessed to slow the pace of global warming and help communities adapt to the changing environment.
The following will be among the 70 speakers at Forest Day:
- Mary Barton-Dock, Director of Climate Policy and Finance at the World Bank
- Justin Lee, Australian Ambassador for Climate Change
- Will Steffen, Executive Director of the Australian National University’s Climate Change Institute
- Bianca Jagger, Plant a Pledge Campaign Ambassador
- Herman Humberto Rosa Chavez, Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources, El Salvador
- Hans Brattskar, Director General of the Norwegian Ministry of the Environment and Special Envoy for Climate Change
- Naoko Ishii, CEO of the Global Environment Facility
- Matthew Wyatt, Head of the Climate and Environment Group at the UK Department for International Development
The conference will dissect some of the options available to policymakers as they grapple with challenges related to forest preservation, food security and development in a world vulnerable to climate change. A panel of experts will highlight how better collaboration between the forestry and agriculture sectors could tackle the food security crisis, and still meet conservation, climate change and development needs.
“Too often, conservation of forests is seen to be in opposition to agricultural development, yet forests provide food, fuel, income and clean water to almost two billion of the world’s poorest people,” said Peter Holmgren, Director General for the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).
Negotiators at this year’s United Nations Framework Convention Conference on Climate Change of Parties in Doha (UNFCCC COP18) are set to discuss how agriculture can be incorporated into the international climate agenda.
Climate smart agriculture, agroforestry, landscape approaches and agricultural intensification — new buzz words in the sector — have all been proposed as possible solutions to the food crisis. However, they are not without their critics. Can they successfully bring together sectors that have often worked in isolation to tackle the current food crisis and what do they really mean for the future of world’s forests?
Helen Gichohi, President of the African Wildlife Foundation, was a keynote speaker at Forest Day 5 and talks about the importance of Africa’s forests and the critical ecosystem services that they provide.
Participants will discuss the latest developments of the United Nations negotiations on REDD+, (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation in developing countries). Proponents hope the world’s forests will be safeguarded by channeling billions of dollars to forest-rich countries through REDD+. However, critics fear the plan could be undermined by poor design, weak governance, corruption and a lack of clarity over land or resource ownership. There are also concerns this could lead to land grabs or impinge on the traditional rights of forest-dependent communities.
While significant progress is being made at the local level to move ahead with REDD+ (340 REDD+ projects are underway in 52 countries worldwide and US$4.5 billion has been pledged for REDD+ readiness activities over the last two years), speakers at Forest Day will look at how the scheme could be financed without an overarching agreement to curb carbon emissions. Experts warn that without predictable, sufficient REDD+ finance, there is a danger that the REDD+ momentum in forest nations might fade.
Forest Day is convened by the Center for International Forestry Research on behalf of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests. You can follow Forest Day via a live video feed online at www.ForestDay.org/live and can also get updates via Twitter by following the event hashtag: #ALLforest