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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

UN Headquarters

24 September 2008

Remarks at UN-REDD Programme press conference

Prime Minister Stoltenberg

Minister Solheim

Mr. Steiner, Ladies and Gentlemen

It is with great pleasure that I join you here today to launch the UN Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries – the UN REDD Programme - a partnership of FAO, UNDP, and UNEP.

Reducing deforestation in developing countries is a key element of addressing the global climate change challenge. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), tropical deforestation produces nearly 20 per cent of all carbon emissions caused by humans. Climate change cannot be won without the world’s forests.

This, however, will be a complex and challenging feat in terms of setting-up incentive structures and implementation mechanisms, and will require a long-term commitment. But nonetheless, it is one of the best large scale investments we can make against climate change that could result in an equally large scale dividend.

It has the potential to make substantial and immediate contribution to a low-cost global emission reduction portfolio. Not to mention the multitude of co-benefits associated with reducing deforestation. Sustainable forest and land use management are efficient adaptation, poverty reduction and biodiversity conservation strategies.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Ensuring that the ongoing climate change negotiations result in an ambitious, inclusive, comprehensive and ratifiable post-2012 deal by December 2009 in Copenhagen - must be our common priority.

And the deal will need to integrate the contribution of forests if we are to meet our stabilization goals and avoid dangerous climate change.

Bali gave us a good start, to consider possible financial incentives for forest-based climate change mitigation in a post-2012 framework. It also called on the international community to provide the institutional, capacity-building, and technical support needed by developing countries to make progress on deforestation. Through the UN-REDD Programme, Norway and the United Nations are coming together to meet this crucial responsibility.

The effort will start with support to nine countries: Bolivia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Tanzania, Viet Nam, and Zambia, and will be carried out in stages. Support will range from capacity building, to designing national strategies and to testing financing approaches and institutional arrangements needed to monitor and verify reductions in deforestation and degradation more effectively.

By providing this support through collaboration among donors, multilateral institutions and developing countries, the UN-REDD Programme aims to ensure international coherence on key technical and operational issues.

We are certain that this collaborative effort will yield valuable inputs to the ongoing climate change negotiations.

This initiative is also a concrete illustration of the UN system’s commitment to provide a coherent support to Member States in responding to their climate change challenges. It is a part of a larger effort by the UN system to organize their support to Member States on climate change.

In Bali, the world community was heartened by the Norwegian Government’s announcement of its willingness to provide significant financial support towards efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradations in developing countries. I congratulate Norway on keeping its Bali promise. I want to acknowledge the Government of Norway, not only for its contributions to the global fight against climate change but also its unwavering support to the UN system’s efforts to ‘deliver as one’.

Ladies and gentlemen,

As we celebrate this great start, I want to remind us all that tackling deforestation seriously will require a commitment at a much larger and longer scale. So I invite other donors to join us in this effort. Larger scale support will be crucial particularly as countries move beyond this initial phase of designing national REDD strategies to the next more demanding and longer-term phase of managing existing forests in a way that sustains their ecosystem services, maximizes their carbon sink while delivering community and livelihood benefits.

Thank you very much.