UK Climate Change Minister Greg Barker gave the opening speech at the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) Dialogue, which brought together decision makers and civil society organisations to discuss a range of issues on the role of forests in the climate change agenda and protecting the interests of indigenous and local communities.
Sessions focused on taking stock of new developments on rights and REDD+ (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing countries) in Cancun, the role of forest restoration and reforestation for both climate mitigation and adaptation, and the formulation of more coherent safeguards and recourse mechanisms for REDD+ programmes.
Opening the session, the minister emphasised the need to deliver on the commitments of the REDD+ ambition and outlined how he believed this could be done.
Greg Barker said: “The REDD+ partnership is an opportunity to really kick REDD+ delivery into high gear, spotting priorities for fast start finance, sharing lessons on implementation, and creating the right political space to discuss scaling up longer-term finance.”
The dialogue took place following the launch last week by Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon of the International Year of Forests for People.
The minister spoke of recognising the need to find new ways to reconcile the competing demands on forests while reducing emissions from deforestation, and also the need to ensure forest-dependent indigenous and local communities are not at risk of losing out as forests and forest land increase in value.
He said: “Stopping the destruction of forests globally is vital if we are to solve the threat posed by global climate change, but it must be done in a way that respects the rights of people who live in and around these forests.
“That’s why we pressed hard for an agreement on forests in Cancun, and it’s why the UK will use our International Climate Fund to support countries in reducing deforestation emissions under a REDD+ framework that seeks a more inclusive approach.”