The Forests NOW Declaration

The Forests NOW Declaration

Mpumalanga, South Africa

The Forests NOW Declaration called for a series of carbon policies and market reforms to incentivise the protection of tropical forests and safeguard the vital ecosystem services they provide.

Through capture and storage of carbon dioxide, forests are integral to combating climate change. Forests also provide ecosystem services, such as water security, on which basic human rights depend. However, forests barely feature in governmental plans to tackle climate change, and many industrial supply chains ignore and endanger key ecosystem services. Rather than harnessing forests for their potential to counteract climate change, many governments and companies maintain an economy of deforestation that creates some 20% of global carbon emissions. The deforestation economy also undermines regional water, food, energy, and health security. Deforestation doesn’t just endanger the environment – it threatens social and economic wellbeing at a global level. Forests NOW sought to increase awareness of the ecological, social, and economic importance of forests, and to encourage appropriate policy and market reforms.

The Declaration included commitments to:

  1. Employ the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) mechanism: incentivise countries to reduce their deforestation emissions with financial rewards.
  2. Maintain and enhance standing forests through payments to countries based on national carbon stocks.
  3. Increase afforestation (new forests) and reforestation (replacement forests) to provide an alternative, sustainable source of timber.
  4. Introduce Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES). PES entails that the beneficiary of an ecosystem service pays the provider, protecting forests while remunerating forest dwellers.
  5. Implement Proactive Investment in Natural Capital (PINC) as a parallel framework to REDD+. PINC is not linked to reducing carbon emissions, but calls for investment in forests for the ecosystem services they provide.
  6. Exclude illegally sourced products from commercial supply chains.

The Forests NOW Declaration was signed by heads of state, indigenous peoples, scientists, economists, and members of NGOs. It was presented at the UNFCCC climate meeting (COP 13) in Bali in December 2007.