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Bonn Summit Produces Surprise Agreement on Forests

Miguel V/Wikimedia Commons

Climate negotiators from about 190 countries reached surprise agreement last week on the UN’s Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Program (REDD+), clarifying steps that will be taken to protect indigenous communities and preserve biodiversity.

“We were surprised that countries came to an agreement,” said Niranjali Amerasinghe, an observer from the Center for International Environmental Law in Washington, DC. But “while there’s an international legal basis that recognizes the rights of indigenous people, the success of REDD+ will depend on its actual implementation on the ground.”

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Deforestation and land use changes account for about 17% of greenhouse gas emissions, so forest conservation is an essential element of a global climate agreement. But John Lanchbery, a climate change adviser for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, said tangible action will depend on international funding. “We need countries getting prepared to do these projects on a large scale, and we need more money from developed nations,” he said last week.