The United Nations (UN) marked the world Environmental Day (WED) on Sunday, 5th June 2001 by calling on the international community to invest an additional 40 billion U.S dollars annually in the forestry sector to halve deforestation rates by 2030.
The UN Environmental Program (UNEP) said such massive investments, equivalent of two-thirds more than what is spent on the sector today, will increase rates of tree planting by around 140 percent by 2050, and catalyze the creation of millions of new jobs. “Forests are a critical link in the transition to a green economy. They generate income, provide employment and nutrition, reduce vulnerability including energy and security,” UNEP’s Deputy Executive Director Division of Environmental Policy Implementation Tim Kasten told a press conference in Nairobi on Sunday, 5th June 2011.
He said such investment backed by the right kinds of enabling policies could also sequester or remove an extra 28 percent of carbon from atmosphere, thus playing a key role in combating climate change.
The WED 2011 comes during the UN-declared International Year of the Forests, which is in part focused on the critical links between forests and the transition to a low carbon resource efficient green economy.
According to report “Forests in a Green Economy” launched by UNEP to mark WED whose theme is Forests: Nature at Your Service, the value of forests provide is not confided to developing economies.
The report suggests that knowledge, vision, enabling conditions and new investments are all necessary to realize the full contributions of forests in a green economy, which is based on a new economic paradigm. “The Green Economy initiative has identified forestry as one of the ten central sectors capable of propelling a transition to a low carbon, resource efficient, employment-generating future if backed by investment and forward –looking policies,” UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said in the report. “There are already many encouraging signals that the annual net forest loss since 1990 has fallen from around 8 million to around 5 million hectares and in some regions such as Asia, the Caribbean and Europe forest area has actually increased over those 20 years”, Steiner added.
The report also highlights how the area of planted forests including those as part of agroforestry schemes on farms and plantations have grown from 3.6 million hectares in 1990 to just under 5 million in 2010.
The study was launched during this year’s WED celebrations and comes about 12 months before the RIO+20 meeting in Brazil in 2012 where the world will come together to try and forge a new and more decisive response to the sustainable development challenge of the 21st century.
Kasten said there is growing political will and increasing engagement from the private sector in the nature-based assets and mobilization by cities and communities across the globe in tree planting efforts.”The world needs to recognize the value of forests and ecosystems if we have to sustain development. We need to make sure that forests are protected to help generate millions of new jobs”, Kasten said.
He said carefully planned investments would also contribute to increase the employment from 25 milion yesterday to 30 millions by 2050. To mobilize public and private investments in forests, the UNEP report emphasizes the role of the payments for the ecosystems services (PES) and Reducing emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+).
PES is scheme of voluntary transition aimed to compensate land owners for providing ecosystem services to society, such as carbon storage, water shed protection or biodiversity conservation.
The report underlines that natural capital such as forests can represent up to 90 percent of the Gross Domestic Product of the rural poor. India, the report says, is among the global a dozen countries taking the global findings of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB), a broad partnership hosted by UNEP, into natural assessments that in turn could translate the value of nature and its services into national accounts.
The green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication is also one of two key issues that will be addressed at the RIO+20 Summit next year in Brazil.
Steiner said WED is as day for everyone to act in support of forests and to nurture these green shoots of a green economy as the world looks towards how best to accelerate, scale-up and above all implement these transitions in Rio in 2012.
Source: Guardian, 7th June, 2011
Posted by; Deodatus Kiriba-YET 2011