The protection, restoration and sustainable management of forests globally has never been more urgent. Yet governments' targets for reducing deforestation and other forest-climate activities fall short (50%) of what forests can actually offer to reduce emissions and increase carbon sinks.
Only half of the climate plans analyzed recognize the role of IPLCs in achieving forest goals. When they do recognize IPLCs, they do not specify how they will involve IPLCs in efforts to achieve these goals, and whether IPLC rights will be strengthened as part of this target.
It is still too early to assess the progress of NDCs, as countries report their progress under the Paris Agreement a few years from now. Meanwhile, we take stock of governments' existing domestic efforts and policies, and offer recommendations on what governments can do to accelerate outcomes.
Current financing and investments towards activities that reduce forest emissions and increase forest carbon sequestration are at best 5% of the investment needed. Governments - both domestically and internationally - need to 1) increase current finance flows to the strategies identified in this report, and 2) redirect existing funds to practices that are sustainable and that shift harmful activities from forest areas to non-forest areas.
There are promising examples where deforestation rates have declined, and where necessary policies have been put in place. These efforts need to be expanded in scale and sped up in pace. Governments need to put forest climate goals front and center of their macroeconomic and development policy-making processes.
Upholding forest climate goals in policymaking does not mean all deforestation can or should be stopped. It means that forests’ contributions and services for current and future generations are carefully valued and regenerated. Any forest loss needs to be justified by sustainable development efforts that benefit the broader public, rather than a small elite.
There is no silver bullet for delivering on forests’ potential to mitigate climate change. Multiple strategies identified in this report that work complementarily are required to protect, restore and sustainably manage forests. Implementing these and other emerging solutions will require a whole-of-society approach.
The report outlines recommendations on what governments can do in each of these three aspects.