Department for International Development
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UK announces £100m to tackle poverty and deforestation

Douglas Alexander yesterday pledged up to £100 million to a global fund to tackle deforestation.

The International Development Secretary called the destruction of forests a ‘global tragedy’ as he backed pilot schemes ranging from trained forest rangers to large scale forest governance reforms.

The International Development Secretary called the destruction of forests a ‘global tragedy’ as he backed pilot schemes ranging from trained forest rangers to large scale forest governance reforms.

The projects will form part of the £220 million (US$348.5 million) Forest Investment Programme (FIP), a fund designed and managed by a group of developed and developing countries that will set out how best to reduce the number of trees cut down each day, which currently stands at eight million.

The FIP will also establish large-scale, strategic programmes that will help to reduce poverty in forest areas through improved governance and better investment.

Up to eight countries in vulnerable tropical regions will participate in the FIP, and it will involve indigenous peoples and the private sector in the pilot projects taking place.

Projects that will be trialled may include:


  • Forest rangers with the necessary powers to prevent illegal logging;
  • New satellite systems to accurately map forests and assess where deforestation is taking place;
  • Encouraging more advanced agricultural techniques to help reduce the need for farmers to expand their grazing land into forest areas;
  • Putting forest communities in charge of their own land, allowing them to manage their forests sustainably; and,
  • Reforestation – the mass planting of trees in areas left bare by deforestation.


Deforestation will be a key agenda item at December’s Copenhagen climate negotiations, with an agreement on the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) programme likely to be central to future forestry reform.

Douglas Alexander said: 

“Deforestation is a global tragedy, destroying the homes and livelihoods of some of the world’s poorest people. Rampant, large scale deforestation also produces more carbon emissions than all the world’s planes, ships and cars combined.

“In many parts of the developing world a tree is more valuable dead than alive. We need strong, decisive action now and at Copenhagen to reverse this dangerous situation.

“I expect this programme to develop workable solutions which will offer a route to a successful, sustainable future for the world’s forests.”

The FIP will pilot new approaches and programmes and ensure that the most successful ones are incorporated into the long-term, large-scale programmes which will be drawn up in the three years following the Copenhagen negotiations.

The UK, through the Department for International Development (DFID), has pledged £50 million now, with a further £50 million available based on the progress of both the FIP itself and wider negotiations on forest finance.

Norway, the US, Australia and Denmark are also contributing to the programme.

Countries will be assisted in applying for money from the fund through an expert group. Participating countries will be selected by March 2010.

Notes to editors


  • Stern Review and World Bank estimates suggest that forests contribute between 17-20% of the world’s carbon emissions, second only to the burning of fossil fuels. The global transport sector contributes 14%.
  • Forests are home to 350 million people across the world, and over a billion people rely on them in some way for their livelihood.
  • The FIP is administered by the World Bank and is one of a number of Climate Investment Funds backed by the UK that aim to help developing countries adapt to climate change and pursue low carbon development. See the World Bank press release on the launch of the Forest Investment Programme.



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