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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

London (UK)

01 April 2009

Remarks at the meeting on climate change and forests, hosted by H. R. H. the Prince of Wales

Your Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales,
Ladies and gentlemen,

I am grateful to His Royal Highness for gathering us here to discuss one of the gravest challenges of our day – climate change – and the role that sustainable forest management can play in abating that threat.

Let me say at the outset that I also wish to pay tribute to Prince Charles’ longstanding commitment to environmental stewardship.

In launching the Rainforest Project, you have reminded us that lofty, well-meaning principles must be tethered to practical works if we are to successfully meet the climate challenge.

Indeed, the Rainforest Project is about nothing less than the principle of sustainability put into practice, with tangible benefits for both the local community – and the global community.

Deforestation accounts for nearly 20% of global carbon emissions. By protecting rainforests, preserving livelihoods, and promoting responsible business efforts, the Rainforest Project is – quite literally – a powerful catalyst for green growth.

And green growth is precisely what the world needs during the current economic downturn. Green growth can help jumpstart recovery and generate jobs today. As importantly, it provides the path for lower-carbon, long-term prosperity.

In Copenhagen this December, governments will meet to “seal the deal” on a new climate agreement to reduce global emissions, prevent deforestation, and assist countries with adaptation needs.

If we are to be effective in combating climate change, we must give people the tools – the resources -- and not least, the hope – needed to move toward a lower-carbon economy. The Rainforest Project provides a timely model to do just this.

The UN system welcomes the Forest Financing Mechanism Working Group proposed by the Prince of Wales. Working together, and drawing on our combined expertise- including that of the UN-REDD Programme, the World Bank, and the UN Forum on Forests, we can promote sustainable, green growth for generations to come.

Thank you.