Photo: Adrianne Mathiowetz/Flickr Creative Commons

This week at COP22, IUCN joined a panel discussion on implementing the Paris Agreement, organised as part of Forest Action Day and focused on how the sustainable management of forests would help countries achieve their targets.

The official event on 8 November 2016 – Concerted Action by State and Non-State Stakeholders for Effective Implementation of the Paris Agreement ­– looked at how integrated approaches to agriculture, forestry, restoration of degraded landscapes and other land-use strategies would feed into the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) of countries that have signed on to the Paris Agreement. It directed attention to the 300 private companies that have signalled their determination to eliminate deforestation from their supply chains and the role governments played in supporting this effort through effective policies and the facilitation of public-private partnerships.

Speakers included Rene Castro, Assistant Director General, Forestry, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO); Saah David Jr., National REDD+ Coordinator, Forest Development Authority, Liberia; Stewart Maginnis, Global Director, Nature-based Solutions, IUCN; and Sisil Nurmala Dewi, Partnership for Peatland Restoration Agency. The discussion was moderated by Rodion Sulyandziga, Centre for the Support of Indigenous Peoples of the North (CSIPN).

The discussion began with an overview of Liberia’s dependence on forests: approximately 50-60% of the country’s population relies on forests, making it important for palm oil companies to use land in a sustainable manner. Liberia has begun tackling this issue by adopting a multi-stakeholder approach via two regional workshops and developing criteria for the sustainable production of palm oil.

IUCN’s Stewart Maginnis then drew attention to the Bonn Challenge – the global effort to bring 150 million hectares of deforested and degraded land under restoration by 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030 – as an implementation vehicle for three Rio Conventions. He congratulated the United States for achieving 65% of its 15 million hectare pledge and India, Mexico and Rwanda for the strides they have made towards fulfilling their commitments.

Photo: Adriana Vidal/IUCN
Photo: Adriana Vidal/IUCN

Achieving the 350 million hectare goal would result in an estimated 0.6 – 1.7 Gt CO2e sequestered per on year average, reaching 1.6 – 3.4 Gt per year in 2030 and totalling 11.8 – 33.5 Gt over the period 2011-2030, said Maginnis, emphasising the crucial role the Bonn Challenge plays in supporting the realisation of the Paris Agreement. A recent report, Progress on the New York Declaration on Forests, also stated this, citing 114 NDCs that contain land sector targets with restoration, reforestation and afforestation pledges totalling approximately 161.6 million hectares.

While the current momentum for restoration has brought in bilateral donors, notably Germany, Norway and the UK, as well as multilateral donors, the need of the hour is to galvanise the private sector. Maginnis spoke about the Bonn Challenge Barometer of Progress – an IUCN-led initiative to track restoration commitments and explained that its annual reports would offer the private sector an insight into impactful investment opportunities. 

He was followed by Sisil Dewi who discussed the work of the Peatland Restoration Agency that has focused on restoring water sources and revitalising livelihoods for local communities. She stressed the importance of peatlands for climate change mitigation and adaptation and explained how the agency was created after a decision taken at COP21 in Paris.

The session helped create meaningful dialogue on how land-use targets under the Paris Agreement can be operationalised, an area we urgently need to focus on if we are to tackle climate change and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


Stay tuned for more updates from COP22. Follow us on @IUCN_Forests.