As prepared for delivery.
I am delighted to participate in this event highlighting the importance of placing sustainability at the heart of commodity production.
Today we will hear from governments, private sector and civil society who will showcase how they are integrating sustainable commodity supply chain initiatives, domestic policies and finance, and international REDD+ finance to conserve forests, increase food production, and decrease greenhouse gas emissions.
Working with the private sector and other partners, countries are adopting integrated approaches, as they transition to greener and more inclusive economies. These national actions are critical to global efforts to implement the SDGs and the Paris Agreement.
Indeed, sustainable forests and land-use management coupled with a green agriculture economy offers us tremendous opportunities which we can only fully take advantage of by working closely with stakeholders in key commodity supply chains, from the producers to government and market actors.
These opportunities include:
Global climate change mitigation - The majority of countries’ NDCs include a commitment in land-use, including forests. Indeed, 77% of all countries’ INDCs - refer to land-use or forests, while 54% explicitly include the land use sector in an economy-wide target. Assuming full implementation of the current round of NDCs, land-use, and forests are clearly a key component of the Paris Agreement, providing approximately a quarter of total emission reductions planned by countries . To achieve those intended emission reductions, agriculture commodity production will need to be a focus, as the main driver of deforestation and forest degradation worldwide.
Social and Environmental Benefits - Sustainable agriculture creates an engine for rural growth across vast areas, improving the lives of millions of people, inevitably tackling persistent poverty on a large scale and nourishing a growing world.
There are approximately 2.6 billion people who depend on agriculture for their livelihood, around a third of the world’s population. Many live below the poverty line and live on small farms and in rural areas.
Increasing farm yields and return on labor, while improving ecosystem services — on which the poor depend most directly for food and livelihoods — will be key to reducing poverty and securing food for a growing population. Reducing the need for further forest encroachment conserves forest land, protecting critical biodiversity, sacred lands for indigenous peoples, ecosystem services and sequestered carbon.
What is UNDP doing with its partners to take advantage of these opportunities?
Through the UN-REDD Programme, UNDP in partnership with UN Environment and FAO, applies a one-UN approach to provide comprehensive assistance to forested developing countries to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, in line with UNFCCC requirements. The Programme has delivered US$280.7 million in support of 64 partner countries since 2008. Leveraging its in-country presence, UNDP has been integral to advancing REDD+ strategies and action plans in 32 countries as well as investment plans that provide a coherent framework within which domestic fiscal policies and finance, private finance, and international finance for REDD+, can be integrated.
A cornerstone of these strategies is addressing expansion of agriculture commodity production as the main driver of deforestation and forest degradation worldwide. Consumed by billions of people every day, palm oil, soy, beef and other global commodities are dominant economic forces in many national and local economies. With economic development, the demand for these products is ever-growing, but this cannot be at the cost of further pressure on our planet’s finite resources. National leadership is critical for establishing effective policies, laws, incentives and enforcement systems across the whole value chain.
These efforts are now complemented by a partnership between the UNDP REDD+ team and the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea, through which Ghana, Ecuador and Myanmar are being supported to access GCF REDD+ investment and results-based funding and to build strong links with private sector entities to tackle commodity-driven drivers of deforestation and forest degradation.
Furthermore, UNDP works closely with private sector and governments through the Green Commodities Programme (GCP). The GCP was launched in 2009 as a global programme that supports the crucial role governments play in leading systemic reform — particularly on the production front — through national and provincial level multi-stakeholder commodity platforms.
We are now extremely pleased to fully integrate this work in key countries and at the global level with global markets and financial systems for palm oil, beef and soy in Indonesia, Liberia, Paraguay and Brazil through the GEF supported Good Growth Partnership. We are especially excited to consolidate and strengthen our partnerships with the governments of Brazil, Indonesia, Paraguay and Liberia in this challenging journey. The Good Growth Partnership, initiated by the GEF, and now led by UNDP’s Green Commodities Programme, in strong collaboration with Conservation International, IFC, UNEP FI and WWF, focuses on the root causes that lead to deforestation, environmental degradation and unsustainable commodity production. This goes to the core of enabling good, fair and green growth and is why our work deals with reducing poverty and ensuring equitable economic development. It allows us to pursue scaled-up models that see to transformative and systemic impacts.
UNDP is also proud to host a new Secretariat and Global Platform for the New York Declaration on Forests, through the support of the Government of Germany. The country cases you will hear about in today’s event are examples of progress in innovative finance by government endorsers to the Declaration. This new Platform will be used to share these best practices with other endorsers.
To realize the full contribution of forests to sustainable development, we need a truly multi-stakeholder and multi-sectoral approach – with governments of developed and developing countries, governors of states and provinces, the private sector, indigenous peoples, civil society, and multilaterals working together. No sector can address deforestation unilaterally. We need producers and consumers, we need policies, financial instruments and investments to align. Otherwise there is a risk that one will undo what the other tries to achieve.
If we get this multilateral and multinational integrated supply chain approach right, we can make a significant contribution towards tackling some of the greatest challenges of our time while simultaneously achieving the spirit of the SDGs to “leave no one behind.”
UNDP is fully committed to supporting countries to scale up action and continuing to innovate, build and enhance partnerships to protect and restore our world’s forests. We look forward to continuing to work together with our UN-REDD Programme partners, UNEP and FAO; with the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea, the Good Growth partners - WWF, Conservation International, the IFC, UNEP-FI and GEF - as well as the governments, companies, organizations and stakeholders who have endorsed the New York Declaration on Forests. We urge others to join in these critical efforts to feed a growing world while tackling global climate change and conserving our forests.