Sunday, December 13, 2009

Accra Caucus on Forests and Climate Change (ACFCC)

December 12th 2009, Copenhagen: UNFCCC Climate Change Summit, Denmark

A robust agreement in Copenhagen to save rainforests is stripped of a global objective on halting deforestation, as developing country governments react to lack of commitment by rich countries.          Non-governmental organisations from around the world today strongly condemned negotiators at the Copenhagen climate summit for removing key content from a draft agreement aimed at protecting the world’s rainforests.

“The outcome of the negotiations of REDD under the UNFCCC will be crucial for the future of tropical rainforests and forest-dependent peoples.  If we lose the battle against deforestation we lose the battle against climate change,” said Kenn Mondiai – Chairman of the Papua New Guinea Ecoforestry Forum speaking on behalf of the Accra Caucus [2] on forests and climate change.

The draft text, released by government negotiators this morning following three days of closed-door discussions, shows that an objective for reducing deforestation by at least 50% by 2020 that had been included in an earlier ‘pre-Copenhagen’ draft of the agreement has now been removed. Similarly, wording that would ensure that biodiversity and the rights of indigenous peoples would be protected has also been moved out of the operative part of the agreement [1].

”In order to be successful, the REDD agreement must include a target for ending deforestation by 2020.  Without this, there is a risk that emissions from forest destruction will be prolonged with devastating impacts that will endanger forest-dependent communities and indigenous peoples, biodiversity and exacerbate climate change” said Kenn Mondiai – Chairman of the Papua New Guinea Ecoforestry Forum.

The loss of the specific target for reducing deforestation is believed to have come about as a result of pressure from tropical countries, who have been angered at the lack of financial commitments from the rich world to help them develop without destroying their forests and the lack of binding and adequate commitments to reducing industrial CO2 emissions by those responsible for creating the climate crisis.

“It’s hardly surprising that developing countries won’t agree to commit to global targets for reductions in deforestation, when rich countries aren't prepared to commit to global targets for reductions of industrial emissions. We are watching an historic opportunity turn into a monumental disaster” said Kenn Mondiai.

The key to saving forests and the climate is that binding targets to reduce industrial emissions, as well as long term financial commitments from developed countries, must be struck at the same time as a deal to reduce deforestation.

 “As developing countries rally around the call for emission reduction targets that will keep temperature increases below 1.5 degrees, so the need for tougher targets for REDD become critical if REDD is to be a part of a meaningful outcome from Copenhagen”3 said Kenn Mondiai.


[1] The former text stated “parties shall”, but the new wording places no specific obligations on parties to adhere to safeguards

[2] The Accra Caucus consists of over 100 non-governmental organisations from 30 countries, (including all the major countries with tropical rainforest)

[3] notes on G77 position needed

For additional information contact Kenn Mondiai in Copenhagen on +4553996756 or


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