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Halt climate change. Halt forest destruction. Halt plantations.

Halt climate change. Halt forest destruction. Halt plantations.

On Monday, 8 June 2009, protesters gave delegates arriving to the climate negotiations in Bonn a simple message: “Halt climate change. Halt forest destruction. Halt plantations.” Compared to the mind-numbingly complex negotiations inside the Maritim Hotel, it was nice to have a clear vision of what the talks should be about.

A coalition of youth, environmental groups, NGOs, Indigenous Peoples organisations and women’s groups delivered a plea for delegates to ensure that any climate deal “immediately ends deforestation, industrial scale logging in primary forests and the conversion of forests to monoculture tree plantations.”

“Survival is not negotiable. The climate deal signed in Copenhagen needs to ensure the survival of all countries and people. The immediate protection of the world’s forests is no longer just an option, it is essential to ensure a safe climate for us and our kids,” stated youth spokesperson Gemma Tillack.

Plea: Halt Climate Change — Halt Forest destruction — Halt Plantations

The undersigned broad coalition of NGOs, Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations and women’s groups call upon the Parties to the FCCC to take into account the critical role of forest conservation in climate change mitigation. The protection of forest biodiversity is vital for life on earth. Native forest ecosystems provide us with clean air, clean water, a safe climate, food, fodder and shelter and they are an important part of our global and cultural identity. Forests provide aesthetic and intrinsic values. Indigenous Peoples and traditional local communities of the forests are the guardians and original conservationists of the forest. They maintain a food sustenance and socio-cultural relationship to the forests based on their cosmovision.

For that reason, we call upon Parties to:

  • Immediately put in place rights-based and equitable policies and institutions to halt deforestation and forest degradation and the destruction of other natural ecosystems like peatlands and grasslands in all continents;
  • Identify and address the direct and underlying causes of deforestation and forest degradation;
  • Ensure that these policies and measures uphold international human rights and environmental standards and are fully consistent with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This includes the effective adoption and implementation by all Parties and all UN agencies and multilateral banks of the Right to Free Prior and Informed Consent of Indigenous Peoples and local forest dependent communities;
  • Ensure that these policies take into account the specific role, rights and interests of women and are fully consistent with Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women;
  • Ensure that these policies are fully consistent with the Convention on Biodiversity and its Expanded Program of Work on Forest Biodiversity and contribute meaningfully to conserving and enhancing biodiversity and related cultural diversity, traditional knowledge and spirituality;
  • Explicitly exclude the establishment and management of monoculture tree plantations, including genetically modified tree plantations, and the practice of industrial logging from these policies. This also implies adopting a forest definition that clearly distinguishes forests from monoculture tree plantations;
  • Ensure any policies intended to reduce deforestation and forest degradation include measures to reduce consumption of forest products, especially in the Industrialized North;
  • Ensure these policies secure the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits of forests and other ecosystems, both between countries and within countries, taking into account the critical role of Indigenous Peoples, local communities and women in conserving and restoring forests and other ecosystems. This also implies recognizing the customary and collective land tenure and forest rights of Indigenous Peoples and ensuring the full and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples, local communities and women in all decision-making processes related to forests;

We call upon developed countries to recognize the historical debt to developing countries caused by their excessive greenhouse gas emissions. This implies immediate and drastic cuts in their domestic greenhouse gas emissions (45% by 2020/ 95% by 2050 as an absolute minimum) AS WELL AS providing sufficient financial and technological support to enable developing countries to halt the destruction of forests and other ecosystems. It is too late for either/or policies. Any form of carbon offsetting, including CDM afforestation/reforestation and REDD offset projects will only increase the ecological footprint and carbon debt of developed countries and must thus be avoided. (Due to a broad range of ethical, social and methodological risks, forest-based carbon offsets will undermine an effective, equitable and socially just climate regime.) Climate change mitigation and sustainable forest management must be based on different mindsets with full respect for Nature, and not on carbon offset mechanisms. Public funding mechanisms that ensure environmental integrity and equitable distribution of funds must be established.

The coalition of youth, environmental groups, NGOs, Indigenous peoples’ Organizations, women’s groups who have signed this survival plea include:

International Youth caucus in Bonn
Ecosystems Climate Alliance
Global Forest Coalition
The Wilderness Society
World Rainforest Movement
Global Witness
Rainforest Action Network
Wetlands International
Rainforest Foundation Norway
Rainforest Foundation UK
Friends of the Earth
Indigenous Environmental Network
Global Justice Ecology Project
CORE India
Life gender, Environment and Diversity Germany
Sustainable Population Australia
Tanzania Forest Conservation Group
the Tanzania Community Forest Conservation Network MJUMITA
Stop GE Tree Campaign
RAVA Institute Indonesia
SWBC Nepal
Timberwatch Coalition South Africa
Pacific Indigenous Peoples Environment Coalition
Friends of the Siberian Forests Russia
Focus on the Global South
Women´s Environment Network Australia
Women Environmental Programme Nigeria
Just Environment
COECO-CEIBA-Friends of the Earth Costa Rica
WALHI-Friends of the Earth-Indonesia
Down to Earth
Carbon Trade Watch
Women’s Environment and Development Organization
Watch Indonesia
Asociacion ANDES Peru
Ecologistas en Accion Spain
Sustainable Energy and Economy Network
North East Peoples Alliance on Trade, Finance and Development India
WISE Inc. Philippines
FASE Solidarity and Education Brazil
Global Exchange
Kingdom Narintarakul Thai Working group for Climate Justice
Union pour l’Emancipation de la Femme Autochtone

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  1. I’m agree with halt forest destruction, and halt plantations, because this is a way to destroy our environment, our forest, that we have to try to conserve, espetially because de forest are the drains of the planet earth

  2. While others are vigorously lobbying for global forest protection to concerned global institutions, we, as an organization are doing our little way to protect the remaining forest in our own locality down here in Oriental Mindoro, Philippines.

    We are trying to provide alternative sources of livelihood, otherwise people will continue to cut down trees in the mountains to produce charcoal on a commercial scale.

    We have started a butterfly breeding activity for them to observe, as this would help gain a living for interested fellows. But unfortunately, people seem to look for livelihood activities that they are used to,like pig growing (through commercial technology) etc.

    Now we are formulating a project proposal regarding natural organic pig production, which we hope would provide people with alternative source of income, and at the same time would deter them from giving havoc to the remaining forest resources (most especially trees. The activity would also help them produce natural organic fertilizer for ready application to their crops.

    May the group help us find organizations/institutions who are interested in this respect because we need some assistance to carry out the project (The project may be made as a pilot project, but as soon as this becomes accepted by the people themselves, we are going to extend the activity on commercial scale also as a way of addressing the problem of the lack of sources of income among the local residents). Thank you and more power!

  3. Thanks Marlo for this comment – I think this illustrates well some of the complexities of protecting forests at a local level. Do you want to provide contact details (email address or website) so that people who are interested can get in touch with you about your project?