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Eliasch Review on International deforestation published

Eliasch Review on International deforestation published

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY AND CLIMATE CHANGE News Release (Ref: 2008/1) issued by COI News Distribution Service. 14 October 2008

The international community should enable rainforest countries to halve deforestation by 2020 and make the global forest sector 'carbon neutral' by 2030. This is the recommendation of an independent report to the Prime Minister published today.

The Eliasch Review, 'Climate Change: Financing Global Forests', is an independent report commissioned by the Prime Minister and led by Johan Eliasch, Special Representative on Deforestation. It provides a comprehensive analysis of the financing and mechanisms needed to support sustainable management of forests and reduce emissions associated with deforestation.

The Review finds that:

- The international community should aim to support forest nations to halve deforestation by 2020 and make the global forest sector 'carbon neutral' by 2030 - i.e. with emissions from forest loss balanced by new forest growth.

- Reducing emissions from deforestation should be fully included in any post-2012 global climate deal at Copenhagen.

- National Governments should develop their own strategies to combat deforestation in forest countries, including establishing baselines, targets and effective governance and distribution of finances.

- In the long term, the forest sector should be included in global carbon markets.

- Public and private sector funding will be needed in the short to medium term as carbon markets grow.

- The international community should provide support for capacity building where necessary. Total capacity building costs are estimated at up to $4 billion over 5 years for 40 forest nations.

Mr Eliasch said:

"Saving forests is critical for tackling climate change. Without action on deforestation, avoiding the worst impacts of climate change will be next to impossible, and could lead to additional climate change damages of $1 trillion a year by 2100.

"Including the forest sector in a new global deal could reduce the costs of tackling climate change by up to 50% and therefore achieve deeper cuts in emissions, as well as reducing poverty in some of the world's poorest areas and protecting biodiversity.

"Deforestation will continue as long as cutting down and burning trees is more economic than preserving them. Access to finance from carbon markets and other funding initiatives will be essential for supporting forest nations to meet this challenge."

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband welcomed the report: "Deforestation accounts for almost a fifth of global carbon emissions. I welcome this report's contribution to the global debate about how we address this. It will help us chart a course to reduce deforestation, help the world's poorest people and cut carbon emissions.

"I hope it can help the vital process of securing agreement on climate change in Copenhagen."

International Development Secretary, Douglas Alexander said: "With more than a billion of the poorest people on our planet dependent on forests to provide them with a livelihood, today's report highlights the challenges we face in reconciling the short-term interests of individuals with the global challenge of tackling climate change."

Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare of Papua New Guinea said:

"Papua New Guinea welcomes the Eliasch Review as it highlights the fundamental role of carbon markets over the medium to long term while emphasizing the need for a comprehensive approach in the shorter term. Within the context of the current global financial instability, we must urgently identify mitigation strategies that are lower-cost and quickly implementable - reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries offers exactly that potential! Accordingly, on behalf of the Coalition for Rainforest Nations, we will work closely with Prime Minister Brown to take forward the best ideas from this Review."

Foreign Minister Bruno Stagno-Ugarte of Costa Rica said:

"The Costa Rica experience supports many of the findings from the Eliasch Review - with dedicated resources, creative institutions and a sound legal framework, deforestation can be reversed and forest cover expanded. For Costa Rica to be successful towards our goal of carbon neutrality by 2021, we will require international support to scale-up our efforts to conserve existing forests and increase reforestation and restoration activities. Only through an integrated approach to forestry, can we push back the effects of climate change. Today we have a historical opportunity to make things right and correct the mistakes of the past."

Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda of Indonesia said:

"As the world acknowledged last year in Bali, we cannot win the battle against climate change unless tropical forests are fully integrated within a post-2012 agreement. The necessary methodologies and technologies exist. What remains is capacity building and the mobilization of the necessary international resources. We look forward to working with the Government of the United Kingdom on the important issues of tropical forestry and climate change."

Norwegian Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim said: "The Norwegian government welcomes the Eliasch Review as an important contribution to the discussion of developing a mechanism for including deforestation and forest degradation in a new climate regime. We look forward to working with Prime Minister Brown, the British government and other partners to take this vital effort forward."

Notes for editors

1. The full report can be seen online at http://www.occ.gov.uk.

2. Gordon Brown commissioned Johan Eliasch to produce the Eliasch Review, in his capacity as Special Representative on deforestation and clean energy.

3. The Eliasch Review is an independent report to government. It aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of international financing to reduce forest loss and its associated impacts on climate change. It does so with particular reference to the international debate surrounding the potential for a new global climate change deal in Copenhagen at the end of 2009

4. The Review draws on a large amount of existing research, responses to a stakeholder consultation and visits to various countries. A range of new research and analysis was undertaken by the review and commissioned from external experts. Summaries of some of this research are available at http://www.occ.gov.uk

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