7 December 2011
Secretary-General
SG/SM/14005
ENV/DEV/1248

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General, in Remarks at Durban Side Event, Stresses Need

 

For Partnerships to Reduce Deforestation, Promote ‘Green’ Growth


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks on advancing public-private partnerships for REDD+ and green growth, in Durban, South Africa, on 7 December:


Last month, I flew over miles and miles of devastated forest and peatland in Central Kalimantan in Indonesia.  I was travelling with Dr. Kuntoro; Minister Kuntoro [Mangkusubrotu] — thank you very much for your hospitality and guidance.


I met with many affected communities.  I saw the impact of deforestation and forest degradation first-hand.  Central Kalimantan’s rich biological and cultural diversity makes it a fitting choice as Indonesia’s pilot province for the REDD+ programme.


I have established the United Nations office — even though it is small — in Kalimantan for the REDD+ programme.  The REDD+ programme is helping to create a financial value for the carbon stored in forests.  It is giving added incentives to Governments and local communities to preserve and sustainably manage them throughout the tropics.


I thank the Avoided Deforestation Partners for organizing this event.  And I thank Dr. Jane Goodall, as always, for her continued efforts to advance this important debate.  Dr. Goodall is our Messenger of Peace at the United Nations.  She has done tremendous work over the years to advance our understanding of the deep interconnectedness of humans and nature.


Last year, in Cancún, countries agreed to take the REDD+ agenda forward.  It was a collective pledge to slow, halt and reverse deforestation.  This was an important recognition of the win-win that forests represent for mitigating climate change and benefiting people, ecosystems and biodiversity.  And here in Durban, parties have agreed on a way forward on the important issues of safeguards and reference levels.


I am encouraged to see that forest countries are acting to reduce deforestation, and that donor countries are pledging to support these activities.  Yet, forests continue to disappear at an alarming rate.


We must do more, and with a greater sense of urgency.  I would point to three areas for action.


First, we need to make the Cancún Agreements operational, including those on REDD+.  And we need to go beyond by making progress on all the outstanding political issues, including the future of the Kyoto Protocol.  We must maintain momentum towards a fair and comprehensive agreement for mitigation.


Second, we must also see greater results in our search for finance.  The scale of financial and technological resources needed for a shift to low-carbon climate-resilient economies is enormous.  This is true for all sectors, from energy to land use to forests — which are essential to the low-carbon transition.


Developed countries have committed to mobilizing $100 billion a year by 2020 to assist developing countries for mitigation and adaptation.  This is a significant amount.  This is a challenge, but the leaders — like Prime Minister [Jens] Stoltenberg of Norway and Prime Minister Meles [Zenawi] of Ethiopia, while they worked as co-Chairs of the High-level Advisory Group on Climate Financing — in their report, they said that this $100 billion by 2020 would be a significant challenge, but this is doable, this is feasible.  Member States are working on that.


Let us now have a Conference of Parties decision on financing for REDD+ this week.  Let us also work to catalyse the trillions of dollars mobilized by the private sector and global capital markets.  Let us explore innovative ways of harnessing these resources to our shared objective of avoiding dangerous climate change.


Third, we need to support a climate-friendly forest sector — a virtuous alliance between business, government and local communities to trigger innovative policy approaches and actions that can slow and halt deforestation.  Private sector partnership is essential for implementing the REDD+ agenda and buttressing the efforts of Congo Basin countries, Indonesia and the Mekong countries, and countries in the Amazon Basin.


Partnerships where local communities and smallholder farmers combine with the power and creativity of the private sector for sustainable solutions; solutions that respect the rights of indigenous people and empower women, farmers and local communities; solutions that will reduce poverty and help communities to adapt to climate change; solutions that will help us to meet our future food security needs without destroying the forests that provide clean water, subsistence and income; solutions that can help us to move towards a new development paradigm that values forests and forges pathways for green growth.  Through REDD+, such solutions can be scaled up over time and create a transformed “deforestation-free” market.


Our planet’s lands and oceans are already stretched to meet the demands of 7 billion people.  The human population continues to grow.  The search for sustainable solutions is an economic and a moral imperative if we are to create the future we want.  REDD+ can play an important role in realizing that future.


Together, we can realize Wangari Maathai’s vision to reverse deforestation and land degradation.  I am very pleased to know that her daughter is now carrying her torch, her legacy, and I wish her continued success.


Together, ladies and gentlemen, we change the face of our planet — for a better world, for our future.


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For information media • not an official record