Saturday, June 4, 2011

President Jagdeo appointed ambassador for forest basins

President Bharrat Jagdeo has been appointed roving ambassador representing the interests of the three forest basins at the conclusion of a weeklong conference, in Brazzaville, Congo on Friday. Jagdeo, a Champion of the Earth awardee, had earlier in the day delivered a speech warning developed countries that poorer nations could abandon attempts to conserve their natural resources if funding issues were not resolved. The declaration also called for the international community to support efforts to avoid deforestation.

Meanwhile, leaders from the world’s three largest forest basins said they would work together to tackle de forestation on the final day of the summit. Heads of state and ministers from countries in the Amazon, Congo and Borneo- Mekong basins signed a declaration recognising the need to protect their forests in the fight against climate change, but stopped short of agreeing on a formal structure for cooperation, Reuters reported.
“( The governments) agree to adopt concrete steps to promote dialogue among their countries. They mandate their relevant ministers to meet and prepare an action plan on co- operation on sustainable management of forests,” the joint declaration said.
Before the announcement, Brazilian Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira told Reuters the summit was a chance for very different countries with similar forestry concerns to talk. “ It’s very important that we see the different cultural aspects, but I really believe we can work together,” she said.

The summit focused on how countries could access an estimated US$ 4 billion pledged by richer countries to help tackle climate change through the United Nations REDD+ scheme, which aims to create financial value for carbon stored in forests. The Congo, Amazon and Borneo- Mekong basins make up 80 per cent of the world’s equatorial forests, and are home to two- thirds of the world’s land- based biodiversity and 300 million people, many of whom rely on the forests to survive. Halting deforestation in the three regions, which accounts for more than 40 per cent of the world’s forestheld carbon, is seen as cru cial to the fight against cli mate change.
The forests are under threat, losing 5.4 million hectares every year, mainly to agriculture, a UN report said. Laurent Some, from conservation group World Wildlife Fund for Nature, said at the close of the sum mit that an important first step had been taken to foster cooperation between the world’s densely forested countries. “ We expected more meat, more tangible commitment
( from the declaration), but it’s a long process. I am optimistic” he said. ( Reuters)

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