The Government has today committed £100 million to international forestry projects which provide specific benefits for biodiversity.
The money comes from the new international climate finance included in the Comprehensive Spending Review, which will include new money for the UK’s contribution to REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), a programme which aims to prevent the loss of forests in developing countries.
Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman confirmed the money will help fund pioneering projects which focus on delivering benefits for the natural environment such as reducing the destruction of habitats and the loss of plants and animals through tackling the fragmentation and degradation of forests. This will help demonstrate how money for international climate finance can best deliver additional benefits - this is critical if climate, biodiversity and development objectives are to be tackled together.
Speaking at the Nagoya conference in Japan, where 193 countries are setting new targets to protect the natural environment, Mrs Spelman said:
“Tackling deforestation is critical if we are to be successful in our goals to protect biodiversity, tackle climate change and reduce global poverty.
“Forests are home to over half of the world’s plants and animals, and support the livelihoods of over one billion people, while deforestation accounts for almost a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions.
“With so much at stake, the UK Government believes it’s time to establish a substantial and longstanding financial commitment to REDD+ to protect the world’s forests and the plants and animals that live in them.”
The funds will help developing countries achieve sustainable, low-carbon development and prepare for the effects of climate change. Last week, the UK government announced that it will provide international climate finance of £2.9bn from 2010/11 to 2014/2015 of which this £100m is a part.
The UK is working with other governments at the biodiversity conference in Nagoya, and the climate change conference in Cancun, to ensure that the aims of tackling climate change, reducing global poverty and protecting and improving the natural environment are linked to ensure all three objectives are met.
- The UK wants to see gross tropical deforestation halved by 2020 and net global deforestation halted by 2030.
- The UK Government participation in REDD+ is co-ordinated across DECC, DFID and Defra; DECC lead on negotiations within climate change fora (UNFCCC).
- At the Copenhagen Conference of Parties on climate change in 2009, the UK Government announced £1.5 billion funding for international climate change projects to 2012. Following the Comprehensive Spending Review, this has been increased and extended to £2.9 billion to 2014/15. The £2.9 billion will include significant new money for forests on top of the existing £300million commitment towards REDD+ made at last year’s Copenhagen Climate Conference. The final amounts are still under discussion.