I know there’s a lot going on here today, and I don’t want to draw attention from the negotiations. But, I can’t let another day pass without someone mentioning the Avoided Deforestation Partners event we attended on Wednesday afternoon. The topic was Redd+ and Green Growth. Check out the agenda below, you’ll understand why we all walked over and sat in the hallway an hour before the event to get good seats.
Dr.Jane Goodall introduced the panelists, pointing out that we are all in “this mess together” and emphasizing the benefits from the forest that we live and breathe.
The Governmental Panel focused on how the private sector might best be engaged in REDD+ programs. There was some criticism that REDD+ doesn’t show overall reduction in emissions from the US. Norway touted forest resource management as a way to dramatically slow deforestation rates and Indonesia echoed. There was optimism that carbon markets might be a way to increase economic growth. The Conservation & Business Leaders narrowed the conversation to discuss the supply chain of timber products and REDD+’s role in sustainable forestry certification schemes. The World Wild life Fund spoke about the power of corporate partnerships to effect change; 5 7 companies control 25% of the demand for forest products which translates into 40-50% of supply.
These conversations were well facilitated and interesting, but I have to say the last panel of women leaders Jane Goodall, Mary Robinson, and Helen Clark, facilitated by Wanjira Maathai was by far the most compelling. The focus shifted from economy to empowerment. The long-term pathways to reducing deforestation have to involve improving livelihoods, increasing food security, and education. REDD+ and other environmental incentive programs must be integrated with human development; safeguards should be the foundation of a successful program, not an afterthought. REDD+ Readiness should examine sustainability and equity within the project community. There is a way to tie all of this together and bring economic development in- it is a necessary piece as well. So much focus at the COP has been on economy, this conversation was good to hear. Dr. Goodall really brought it home for me in her closing speech. She spoke about the disconnect between our “clever brains and our human hearts.” Even if carbon prices never rise and a market fails to establish- we still need to save our forests. Jane delivers this message everywhere she goes, and she speaks more than 300 days a year. The more people who hear it, the better off we’ll all be.