Press release

UK to tackle deforestation in developing countries

Justine Greening announces new support to address deforestation and to work with business to manage natural resources.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Photograph of forest
Britain will promote new links with businesses to manage scarce natural resources and stop deforestation in the developing world. Picture: Abbie Trayler-Smith/DFID/Panos

Britain will promote new links with businesses to manage scarce natural resources and stop deforestation in the developing world, International Development Secretary Justine Greening announced today.

The Department for International Development will establish new partnerships between businesses and farmers in developing countries to create multinational supply chains free from unsustainable deforestation.

The UK will also support a major new drive across Europe to stamp out the demand for wood sourced from illegal logging.

Speaking at the Forest and Climate Challenge conference at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Ms Greening will warn that climate change is one of the most urgent and pressing challenges to global poverty reduction.

Announcing the new UK support, Justine Greening said:

Climate change has the potential to halt or undo the progress we have made in the last two decades. Without action the world will get hungrier, poorer and more dangerous in the years to come. There is no point in building a health clinic for poor people in Bangladesh if it will get washed away by the next floods.

Investing in the better management of natural resources and putting a stop to deforestation is the smart thing to do. British businesses are already leading the way in setting up long-term sustainable supply chains.

Our assistance will help companies, communities, smallholders and governments work together to reduce deforestation and increase crop yields.

Deforestation is the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions and affects the lives of more than one billion people who depend on forests for food, fuel and a living. It also makes these communities more vulnerable to natural disasters.

The new British support announced today consists of:

  • £60 million for a new programme to encourage businesses to join the fight against deforestation. The Investments in Forests and Sustainable Land Use initiative will form a number of innovative public-private partnerships with communities, local farmers and local and international businesses including UK companies, to manage forests sustainably and support and encourage agriculture that does not cause further deforestation.
  • an additional £84 million available for the successful Forest Governance, Markets and Climate programme, as a contribution to a global partnership to end illegal logging. The new money will support efforts to close the EU market to illegally-harvested timber, and provide support to developing countries to tackle weak governance that allows illegal practice to flourish.

The new Investments in Forests and Sustainable Land Use initiative will support 10-15 major public-private partnerships and will work with companies that are committed to taking deforestation out of their supply chains, including smallholder farmers, to help them produce palm oil, timber and other agricultural commodities in ways that do not cause deforestation.

Smallholder oil palm farmers, for example, currently receive around half of the yield that they should when compared to professionally run plantations. By supporting investments to improve the productivity of their existing plantations, UK support can help these farmers increase their yields without clearing more forest.

Justine Greening also emphasised the need for the post-2015 development goals agreed in the year ahead to be climate smart and called on the international community to agree ambitious targets for protecting forests and other natural resources.

Notes to editors

  1. The Department for International Development (DFID) has been working to help the poorest people in the world adapt to the effects of climate change on their lives and livelihoods. This includes building the resilience of people, businesses and communities affected by climate change and by supporting governments to use their natural resources in a sustainable way.
  2. The International Development Secretary’s speech comes the day before the UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit in New York, which aims to catalyse ambitious action on the ground to reduce emissions and strengthen resilience, and to mobilise political will for an ambitious global climate agreement in Paris by December 2015.

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Published 22 September 2014