The Joy of Forest Day

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By Robert Gibson, Hong Kong


On the floor of Gran Cancún at Forest Day 4

After the gloom of ocean acidification, Forest Day was a joyful experience. Here were around 1,500 people working on an important problem which is solvable.


Forest Day 4 at Cancun confirmed the community of experts on forests has made great progress since the first Forest Day in Bali and is now ready to scale up from pilot projects to large scale action on forest conservation. They need a REDD+ agreement and financing mechanism to enable this to happen. The UN’s High Level Advisory Group on Financing ‘s proposals provide a good basis for mobilising substantial funds. The UNFCCC should accelerate work based on these proposals.

The Forests Community don’t know all the answers. They don’t have a perfect solution but they know enough to make great progress given funding and an enabling framework. Now is the time to stop talking and let them start work on a large scale. This work will allow them learn so changes can be made to improve the framework in the years ahead. When taking action on forests two key issues are:

  1. Forest conservations schemes will only be successful if they improve the livelihoods of the people who live in forests. Moreover research shows conservations schemes work best when they are implemented by local communities who own their forests and have a keen interest in their long term preservation.
  2. Governance is crucial as the willingness of the global community to provide substantial long term financial support for forests will be impacted by evidence of how effectively the funds are spent.
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