New York Declaration on Forests

 Launch of the New York Declaration on Forests at the 2014 Climate Summit. Left-Right: Teras Narang, Governor of Central Kalimantan; Edwin Vasquez, COICA; Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace International; David MacLennan, CEO, Cargill; Franky Widjaja, CEO, Golden Agri-Resources; Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever; Helen Clark, Administrator, UNDP. Photo: Dearbhla Keegan/UNDP.

Forests and the services they provide are crucial to sustainable development and human well-being. As the largest storehouse of carbon after the oceans, healthy forests play a critical role in climate change mitigation and adaptation. They also supply many of the ecosystem services society depends on, including watershed protection, food security, combating land degradation, and harboring biodiversity. More than 1.6 billion people worldwide depend on forests for food, medicines and fuel, as well as their jobs and livelihoods.

Despite these benefits, deforestation is continuing at alarming rates in many countries. Actions to combat deforestation and speed up the restoration of degraded lands will contribute to economic growth, poverty reduction and greater food security as well as help communities adapt to climate change and secure the rights and livelihoods of indigenous peoples and forest communities.

Governments, multilaterals, civil society organizations, indigenous peoples and the private sector all have a role to play in protecting our world’s forests.

The New York Declaration on Forests

In response to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s call for bold pledges to address climate change in advance of the UN Climate Summit 2014, an alliance of governments, companies, indigenous peoples and NGOs announced the New York Declaration on Forests - the first global timeline to slow and end forest lost.

Launched at the Climate Summit held at UN Headquarters in New York in September 2014, the New York Declaration on Forests pledges to halve the rate of deforestation by 2020 and end the loss of natural forests by 2030, and restore at least 350 million hectares of degraded forest lands by 2030, an area greater than the size of India. It also pledges to eliminate deforestation from the supply chains of key commodities, and strengthen forest governance while empowering communities and respecting the rights of indigenous peoples, among other goals

The New York Declaration on Forests was endorsed at the 2014 Climate Summit by more than 150 governments, companies, indigenous peoples and civil society organizations committed to doing their part to achieve the Declaration’s ten goals and follow its accompanying action agenda. Since then, the number of endorsers has grown to 189 and new endorsers continue to sign-on to the Declaration.  

Although voluntary in nature, the Declaration was backed up by specific commitments to action including a supply chain revolution among major commodity traders; a pledge by indigenous peoples to protect hundreds of millions of hectares of tropical forests; new commitments from forest country governments to reduce deforestation or restore degraded lands;  new bilateral and multilateral programmes to pay countries for reduced deforestation over the next six years; and new procurement policies for several of the largest forest commodity importer governments.

The New York Declaration on Forests remains open for endorsement. Governments, companies, NGOs or indigenous peoples’ organizations seeking more information on the Declaration or wishing to join the list of endorsers should contact the NYDF Secretariat at UNDP  (NYDF@undp.org).

 

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