People, Environment

Global Movement to Check African Deforestation

Global Movement to Check African DeforestationGlobal Movement to Check African Deforestation

A new initiative to stop the spread of deforestation in Central Africa was launched on Tuesday in New York, marking the latest global push to protect the world’s shrinking rainforests.

Central Africa is home to the world’s second-largest rainforest and its preservation is seen as crucial to global efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions and tackle biodiversity loss.

The new Central African Forest Initiative will see a host of African countries with rainforest cover above 20,000 square km commit to preserving their forests with the support of donor countries. Signatories to the initiative include the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central Africa, Cameroon and Gabon, Business Green reported.

The group will aim to develop and implement country-led, low-emission development and investment frameworks for each of the signatory countries, with the financial support and expertise provided by the so-called “donor countries”, which include Norway, the UK and France.

The donor countries will collaborate with development agencies such as the World Bank to help develop the investment frameworks, which will address the causes of deforestation and forest degradation.

African countries are now calling on donor countries to donate further funds to CAFI, which has an initial funding target of $500 million for its planned 10-year lifetime. Norway is the first country to pledge funds, promising up to $47 million per year up to 2020.

The announcement comes just days after the UK, France and China all announced new climate funding commitments, which will contribute to an international target to mobilize $100 billion a year of climate finance to help poorer nations tackle climate change from 2020.

The funding commitments are expected to form a key part of a planned new international climate change agreement, which is expected to be finalized at this year’s UN summit in Paris. The agreement is also expected to include new mechanisms for tackling deforestation, known as REDD+, which aim to provide financial incentives for countries with tropical rainforest cover to protect and restore their forests.

The news comes on the heels of the adoption of new sustainable development goals on Friday by 193 countries, which promise to advance the sustainable management of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and plant substantially more trees by 2020, Reuters reported.

While the deforestation target has not received much attention, it is one of the few the world is on track to achieve with an extra push to cover the last mile, according to research from the London-based Overseas Development Institute.

Deforestation is expected to continue in the short term, but by 2020 the share of the world’s forest area is set to start increasing, so that by 2030 there will be almost as much forest as there is today, it said.