UNEP Report Spotlights Economic Benefits of Boosting Funding for Forests
Investing Just 0.034 Percent More of Global GDP Could Halve Deforestation, Generate Millions of Jobs and Combat Climate Change
Delhi/Nairobi/World, 5 June 2011 - Investing an additional US$40 billion a year in the forestry sector could halve deforestation rates by 2030, increase rates of tree planting by around 140 per cent by 2050, and catalyze the creation of millions of new jobs according to a report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
Backed by the right kinds of enabling policies, such an investment - equivalent to about two-thirds more than what is spent on the sector today - could also sequester or remove an extra 28 per cent of carbon from the atmosphere, thus playing a key role in combating climate change.
Forests in a Green Economy: A Synthesis was unveiled during this year's World Environment Day (WED) celebrations. The theme, Forests: Nature at Your Service, underscores the multitude of benefits that forests provide to humanity.
WED 2011 also comes during the UN-declared International Year of the Forests, which is in part focused on the critical links between forests and the transition to a low carbon, resource efficient green economy.
"WED 2011 comes precisely 12 months before the Rio+20 meeting in Brazil next year where the world will come together to try and forge a new and more decisive response to the sustainable development challenge of the 21st century," said Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director.
"The Green Economy initiative has identified forestry as one of the ten central sectors capable of propelling a transition to a low carbon, resource efficient, employment-generating future if backed by investment and forward-looking policies," he added.
"There are already many encouraging signals; the annual net forest loss since 1990 has fallen from around eight million to around five million hectares and in some regions such as Asia, the Caribbean and Europe forest area has actually increased over those 20 years," said Mr. Steiner.
The report also spotlights how the area of planted forests including those as part of agroforestry schemes on farms and plantations have grown from 3.6 million hectares in 1990 to just under five million hectares in 2010.
Groups like WWF are cataloguing information and experience in respect to plantations to maximize biodiversity and ecosystem services.
It shows in areas such as Brazil's Atlantic rainforest how more creative tree planting can assist in providing buffer zones around intact forests allowing regeneration and recovery.
"There is also an increasing engagement from the private sector in these nature-based assets and mobilization by cities and communities across the globe in tree planting efforts. Meanwhile, new kinds of smart market mechanisms, ranging from REDD+ to payments for ecosystem services, are emerging," he added.
"WED is a day for everyone to act in support of forests and to nurture these green shoots of a Green Economy as the world looks towards how best to accelerate, scale-up and above all implement these transitions in Rio in 2012," he said.