On Monday, 19 September 2022, at New York Climate Week and on the margins of the 77th UN General Assembly, the Forest Declaration Platform and Forest Declaration Assessment presented a preview of the annual Global Progress Assessment toward 2030 forest targets.
Ricardo Tsakimp, Uwishin (shaman) of the Shuar peoples from the Ecuadorian Amazon opened the event with a blessing to set the tone for the event and the week ahead, sharing an important message about the state of the planet and the urgency to stop its destruction. Erin Matson, Senior Consultant at Climate Focus, followed with a keynote presentation of the Forest Declaration Assessment findings. The report this year is structured around four main themes: (1) Overarching forest goals like halting deforestation and increasing restoration; (2) sustainable production and development; (3) forest finance; and (4) governance. The Assessment report covers the challenges towards progress on each of these themes and examples of progress in different countries and regions. The findings show some bright spots for global progress toward the 2030 forest goals, though overall, progress is not (yet) on track to meet the 2030 forest commitments. The 2022 Forest Declaration Assessment will be launched on October 24 and available at forestdeclaration.org. Please sign up for the newsletter or follow @Forest_Assess to receive update and stay informed about the report launch.
Afterward, an expert panel of Indigenous Peoples, civil society, philanthropy, and local political leaderships shared progress towards forest commitments, described lessons learned, and urged the audience to accelerate action toward ending deforestation and forest degradation.
- Patrick Kipalu, Director of the Rights and Resources Initiative’s Africa Program, discussed reforms and forest initiatives underway across Africa. Kipalu outlined several regulations employed by African governments and called for rights-based and community-based approaches to conservation. Civil society cannot rely on its traditional conservation methods; the urgency of the situation, he warned, requires prioritizing community tenure security and conservation methods on the ground.
- Helen Finlay, a Senior Global Program Manager at CDP, highlighted the importance of monitoring and accountability to track financial shifts towards progress. With CDP data, she illustrated the woefully inadequate measures that companies have taken to mitigate deforestation. Finlay also advocated for mandatory disclosure of their operations’ and supply chains’ impacts on forests and time-bound laws and regulations.
- Mina Setra, Deputy Secretary of AMAN (Indigenous People’s Alliance of the Archipelago), examined whether current progress outweighs ongoing deforestation and forest degradation. Grounding her discussion in values of collaboration and resilience, she discussed isolated efforts by AMAN, civil society, and governments to restore and protect forests, and called for more intentional collaboration to maximize impact of these efforts.
- Kevin Currey, Program Officer of the Ford Foundation, critiqued a lack of funding for the work of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities who are leading the way on 2030 forest declaration goals. Currey commended Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities for their persistent stewardship and protection of forests despite insufficient funding and highlighted the progress the world could make on forest goals if Indigenous Peoples received more financial support and if large companies and governments committed more funds to 2030 forest goals.
- Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Coordinator of AFPAT (Association of Peul Women and Autochthonous Peoples of Chad), challenged dominant narratives characterizing forest protection as an Indigenous Peoples’ issue. Powerfully advocating for more funding for Indigenous Peoples, she emphasized the importance of forests for everyone and the potential for deforestation to cause widespread migration and disarray. She concluded her remarks with a call for collective action, across all ecosystems, to protect forests around the world from constant threats.
- Marco del Prete, Secretary of Sustainable Development for Querétaro, Mexico, announced Querétaro’s endorsement of the New York Declaration on Forests. He also highlighted Querétaro’s impressive progress on plans to forest new areas and reward landowners for protecting high-risk forests. To conclude, he highlighted the importance of exchanging local experiences and perspectives on eliminating deforestation.
The Forest Declaration Platform partners thank all guests, participants, and speakers for their engagement and commitment to more holistic, honest dialogue and between government, civil society, and Indigenous Peoples.
Please find a video recording of the event here. You can read the 2022 Assessment report when it launches on October 24, 2022 at forestdeclaration.org. Sign up for the Forest Declaration Newsletter here to stay informed about key messages and events on the Forest Declaration Assessment.