What is the New York Declaration On Forests?
The New York Declaration on Forests (NYDF) is a voluntary and non-binding international declaration to take action to halt global deforestation. It was first endorsed at the United Nations Climate Summit in September 2014, and by October 2017 the NYDF supporters grew to include over 191 endorsers: 40 governments, 20 sub-national governments, 57 multi-national companies, 16 groups representing indigenous communities, and 58 non-government organizations. These endorsers have committed to doing their part to achieve the NYDF’s ten goals and follow its accompanying action agenda.
The NYDF has roots in other processes, and its aims overlap with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement adopted in 2015. Complementary processes include the 2011 Bonn Challenge to restore 150 million hectares of degraded land by 2020 and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, which include at least halving the loss of all natural habitats. The declaration includes ambitious targets to end natural forest loss by 2030, with a 50% reduction by 2020 as a milestone toward its achievement. In addition, the declaration calls for restoring 350 million hectares of degraded and deforested lands by 2030, supporting the private sector in eliminating deforestation from the supply chains of major agricultural commodities by 2020, and providing financial support to reduce emissions related to deforestation and forest degradation. Achieving the NYDF goals could reduce the global emissions of greenhouse gases by 4.5–8.8 billion metric tons every year – equivalent to the United States’ annual emissions.
Who are the NYDF Assessment Partners?
The NYDF Assessment Partners are an independent network of civil society groups and research institutions – highlighted on the Partners' page – that annually evaluates the progress toward meeting the ten goals formulated in the NYDF. Meeting the goals of the NYDF requires the ongoing resolve of its endorsers. Effective monitoring on progress, engagement and visibility of results is important to boost this resolve. The NYDF Assessment Partners serve as a platform to facilitate these efforts.
Together, the partners annually conduct the NYDF Progress Assessment, consisting of (1) an in-depth report looking at progress on a selected goal (or set of goals) and (2) brief updates on all the goals. Ongoing monitoring efforts, engagement, and visibility of the NYDF Progress Assessment will enable stakeholders to hold endorsers accountable to their commitments and to ensure that interest in achieving the NYDF goals is maintained. The objective of the NYDF Progress Assessment is to make a contribution towards achieving the ten goals set out in the NYDF and creates an information platform that tracks their progress, and implements a series of activities that encourages ambition and momentum around actions to achieve its targets.
In 2015, the first edition of the NYDF Progress Assessment proposed a framework and respective indicators for measuring progress toward all ten goals and offered an initial assessment on the status of progress toward their achievement. In 2016, the second edition of the report focused on Goal 2, eliminating deforestation from agricultural commodity supply chains, building on the 2015 NYDF Assessment Framework and Initial Report. It was met with an overall positive response and widespread media coverage (including Reuters, NPR, and Politico). The third edition of the report, released in October 2017, provides a deep analysis of Goals 8 and 9 of the NYDF - looking at the financial support provided to forest emission reduction strategies (Goal 8), and rewards for action (Goal 9).
The fourth edition of the NYDF Progress Assessment was launched in November 2018. It focuses on forest governance, the rule of law, and the empowerment of communities and indigenous peoples (Goal 10). The 2018 progress assessment of Goals 1-9, launched in September, shows that natural forests continue to disappear at an alarming rate since the NYDF was adopted in 2014. Though some forest loss has been offset by regrowth, young forests have different ecosystems and structures from established forests and are unlikely to offset carbon emissions from natural forests. Overall, we are not on track to meet the goal to halve natural forest loss globally by 2020.
In late summer 2019, the NYDF Assessment Partners will release the fifth edition of the NYDF Progress Assessment, taking stock of overall progress on the fifth anniversary of the launch of the NYDF. While highlighting progress toward stopping deforestation (Goal 1) and implementing restoration (Goal 5), the new report will track the development of all ten goals to present an overall picture of progress.