UNDP Convenes a Deeper Dialogue Process to Accelerate Action on Deforestation in West Africa

Posted April 4, 2022

In September 2014, a broad coalition of governments, companies, civil society, and Indigenous peoples’ organizations endorsed the New York Declaration on Forests (NYDF) [1]. Driven by the shared understanding that halting deforestation is essential to keep temperature increases below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the endorsers — who now number over 200 — adopted an ambitious declaration to stop deforestation by 2030 and ten associated goals.



© UNDP Liberia 

The goals include restoring of degraded landscapes and forestlands  by 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030, addressing the main drivers of deforestation, improving governance, and accelerating finance for forests. Tropical deforestation has continued at an unsustainable pace since 2014 and the 2020 NYDF targets were not met. Furthermore, while the political will to restore degraded land has increased, efforts to implement restoration promises have been slow to gain traction.This slow pace of progress catalyzed a process to update the NYDF goals and to enhance accountability, strengthen political will and accelerate action to meet the goals. Making progress to meet existing forest commitments is more important than ever in this critical decade for climate action to keep global temperatures below 1.5 degrees Celsius in line with the Paris Agreement and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Forest Declaration Platform, hosted by UNDP and in partnership with the Meridian Institute, Climate Advisers and Climate Focus supports the advancement and implementation of the NYDF goals.

Goal 2 of the Declaration focuses on eliminating deforestation from the production of agricultural commodities well before 2030 – recognizing that many companies have even more ambitious targets. As the primary driver of deforestation globally continues to be agriculture, Goal 2 is critical for achieving the 2030 forest targets. 

In 2022 one of the key activities of the Forest Declaration Platform and UNDP will be to host a series of dialogues in two countries in the West Africa region, Cote d’Ivoire and Liberia, to identify how to accelerate progress on halting deforestation from agricultural commodities at country level. The dialogues will bring a cross-commodity focus and will aim to facilitate new alliances and partnerships for the achievement of Goal 2.



© Conservation International

An increasing number of initiatives are looking at how to do this, including the Cocoa & Forests Initiative, the EU Cocoa Dialogues, and the COP26 Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use. The dialogues will align with these and other existing initiatives and dialogues, such as Stockholm +50, the UNCCD COP15 agenda, as well work on Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) as part of the UNFCCC process. The dialogues will both build on these initiatives at a country-level and the results will feed into them to ensure coordination and facilitate longer-term catalytic change.  

The approach to the dialogues will draw on UNDP’s extensive experience in facilitating collaborative action, particularly between public and private sectors (using UNDP’s recently update methodology (Effective Collaborative Action) as well as practices advanced by the Conscious Food Systems Alliance. In addition, they will draw on UNDP’s experience from the initiative From Commitment to Action, which developed national roadmaps for deforestation-free commodities in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. The dialogues will provide space to uncover why change is not happening and build trust to collaborate more effectively going forward among different stakeholders and sectors. The dialogues will initiate in the second half of 2022.  

If you would like to learn more or contribute to the process, please contact Charles O’Malley, UNDP Senior Systems Change Advisor, charles.omalley@undp.org

[1] The NYDF is the major reference point for global forest action, and is currently endorsed by over 200 entities including more than 50 governments, more than 50 of the world’s biggest companies, and more than 50 influential non-governmental organizations and Indigenous Peoples and local communities. View the full list of endorsers here.