Framework for Forests and Climate Change

by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN

This event presented the Strategic Framework for Forests and Climate Change,
proposed by the Collaborative Framework on Forests (CPF). The CPF is a
partnership of 14 forest-related international organizations, formed in 2000 to
enhance cooperation on forest issues.

Jan Heino, Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), presented on the
CPF Global Forest Expert Panel’s report on the adaptation of forests and
forest-dependant people to climate change, and expressed hope that this will
inform the post-2012 climate agreement. He described key messages, including
that sustainable forest management (SFM) is an effective framework for both
mitigation and adaptation.

Jan McAlpine, UN Forum on Forests (UNFF), highlighted the need for a coherent
and cross-sectoral approach that reflects the full potential of forests to
contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation. She emphasized that a
wide spectrum of forest-related strategies should be considered in addressing
the problem, from complete protection to active management.

Roberto Acosta, UNFCCC, said that despite efforts to include forests within the
climate agenda, it was not until 2005 that the topic received significant
attention. He said that reduced emissions from deforestation and forest
degradation (REDD) must be designed in a way that will not harm other forest
values and indigenous people.

Stewart Maginnis, IUCN, presented on The Forest Dialogue’s (TFD) statement on
forests and climate change, and cautioned that unless the forest community is
able to speak with one voice on this issue, forests could be left off the
agenda once again. He described principles that the TFD identified as important
for REDD, including that it should build upon our knowledge of SFM and tackle
the drivers of deforestation outside the forest sector.

Alexander Buck, International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO),
said that the complexity of discussions has heightened the importance of the
science-policy interface, and described the role of the CPF Global Forest
Expert Panel. He said that the Panel’s report on forests and adaptation is the
most comprehensive to date, and that it indicates that climate change is likely
to impact forests significantly even if carbon dioxide levels are stabilized in
the near term.

Frances Seymour, Center for International Forest Research, said the CPF should
act strategically to ensure that any REDD framework is efficient and effective.
She noted that the CPF needs to discern which activities are best carried out
by individual CPF members, which ones require collective action, and which ones
are best carried out by others, including countries and communities.

Participants discussed the need to: consider forests as functioning ecosystems;
convey the importance of SFM; engage with the financial sector; involve indigenous
people; and make linkages with existing tools such as forest certification.