For immediate release
International consensus on forests’ vital role in fighting climate change
Barcelona, Spain, 8 October, 2008 (IUCN)– The world’s forests have immense potential to lessen the impacts of climate
change, but if this opportunity is going to be realized, unified global action is now required, according to a
remarkable alliance of international forest leaders.
The Forests Dialogue’s Initiative on Forests and Climate Change brought together more than 250 representatives of
governments, forestry companies, trade unions, environmental and social groups, international organizations, forest
owners, indigenous peoples and forest-community groups in a series of meetings over 10 months. For the first time, the
group has agreed on five guiding principles for climate change negotiators. (see attached one page summary.)
In a landmark statement entitled Beyond REDD: The Role of Forests in Climate Change, the Initiative also agreed on
exactly what role forests can play in the battle to halt damaging climate change. The group specifies that sustainable
forest management that reduces deforestation and degradation and that actively supports the livelihoods of millions of
forest-dependent communities must now be one of the world’s highest priorities. This is because forests and forest
products have the unique ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, capture carbon, and lessen peoples’ vulnerability
to climate change.
“For the first time on this unprecented scale, forest leaders, business representatives, donors, and community groups
not only agreed on the pivotal role that forests can play in mitigating climate change but also mapped out a consensus
action plan on concrete next steps. We now ask the world to work with us in putting these guiding principles into
action,”says Stewart Maginnis, Head of the Forest Conservation Programme at IUCN, the International Union for
Conservation of Nature.
“All of us have a shared responsibility to insist on sustainable forest management that produces fiber for wood and
paper products, bioenergy and that also provides critical ecosystems services such as carbon sequestration and water
quality,” says James Griffiths, Managing Director of the Sustainable Forest Products Industry project at the World
Business Council for Sustainable Development.
The Initiative also emphasizes that forest governance and local rights to forests and their resources, especially those
of forest-dependent communities, must be clarified, strengthened and made more transparent if sustainable forest
management is to succeed.
“We live in a defining moment of time, when the very well-being of our earth is at stake, our economy is in turmoil and
the lives of billions of people threatened. This is the climate change moment,” says Mr Abdon Nababan, Secretary General
of Aliansi MasyarakatAdat Nusantara (Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance of the Archipelago), Indonesia. “Listen to the
indigenous people around the world. Our knowledge will harness the climate change mitigation potential of our forests
and in turn will promote economic development and conservation.”
“Despite the many varied perspectives and interests that make up the broad forest community,The Forests Dialogue process
produced strong agreement on these key sustainable forest management principles for addressing climate change,” said
Gerhard Dieterle, World Bank Forestry Advisor.
The Forests Dialogue urges the world’s governments to mobilize the resources necessary to develop and implement climate
change mitigation and adaptation policies that make thevital role of forests clear. The Forests Dialogue is committed to
working with the public and private sector in the formulation of these policies so that their guiding principles are
adopted, the expertise of forest dependent communities is incorporated, the foundations of sustainable development
included and the underlying causes of deforestation tackled.
About The Forests Dialogue
The statement, “Beyond REDD:The Role of Forests in Climate Change,” is the product of a multi-stakeholder dialogue
process developed and convened by The Forests Dialogue (TFD). It expresses the consensus view of more than 250 people
from diverse backgrounds, who came together to debate, over a ten-month period, the role of forests in climate change
and the policies being developed to foster that role. TFD is an international collaborative platform and process driven
by environmental and social groups, businesses, Indigenous Peoples’ and forest community groups, trade unions, forest
owners, and international organizations. Its mission is to promote sustainable forest management through a constructive
dialogue among all key stakeholders (www.theforestsdialogue.org). TFD’s approach is based on establishing mutual trust,
improving understanding on issues, and a commitment to change. This dialogue on forests and climate change is the
seventh and largest initiative convened by TFD since its inception in 1999. All materials related to the Forests and
Climate dialogue can be found at www.theforestsdialogue.org/climate.html
IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing
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The World Business Council for Sustainable Development is a unique, CEO-led, global association of some 200 companies
dealing exclusively with business and sustainable development. The Council provides a platform for companies to explore
sustainable development, share knowledge, experiences and best practices, and to advocate business positions on these
issues in a variety of forums, working with governments and non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations.