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Over 130 organizations demand accountability for forest protection

Over 130 organizations demand accountability for forest protection


Since its inception in 2012, International Day of Forests has been a celebration of transformation. Landing on March 21str each year, it coincides with a moment of imminent change, as the world's forests prepare for their most dramatic annual transitions: the impending green of spring in the north and the technicolor of fall in the south. It is a time of global absorption, of a world ready to move forward into a new moment.

This potential for transformation also defines the state of global forest policy as the international community celebrates the International Day of Forests this year. After unprecedented commitments and policy actions from the financial and corporate sectors, the international community stands on the threshold of meaningful forest protection.

Achieving this change, however, depends on more than what's on the page. That's why, on this International Day of Forests, organizations from around the world are calling for a long-overdue element in global efforts to curb deforestation and forest degradation: accountability.

In a statement for the International Day of Forests, more than 130 organizations from 39 countries, including BirdLife International, Greenpeace, Amnesty International and Climate Action Network Canada, have called on international changemakers to prioritize accountability as a basis for meeting global commitments . Calling for a shared, equal sense of responsibility and a commitment to genuine global progress, the declaration emphasizes the need to create accountability mechanisms that will drive timely and effective action.

The statement praises recent groundbreaking policy developments, such as the outcome of the UN climate conference in December, but warns that, without accountability, the latest progress will simply become the latest in a long legacy of failed commitments and half-measures. especially from the Global North that has defined the forest. politics for decades.

Last December, at the UN's annual climate conference, the international community agreed on a climate roadmap that embraces the need to halt and reverse deforestation and forest degradation by 2030, a goal also included in the Leaders' Declaration Glasgow on Forests and Land Use. The roadmap, called Global Stocktake, embeds in climate action the stark reality that keeping the forests we have standing is essential to achieving a secure and livable future and sets a non-negotiable target for the world to hit.

Some governments have already taken steps towards achieving this goal. The European Union is advancing trade standards that address resources associated with deforestation and some types of forest degradation. The United States has announced measures to protect old-growth forests. Nigeria is leading in the implementation of biodiversity protection and the pursuit of equitable progress internationally.

Others, however, continue to sign international agreements single-handedly as it weakens those within the country with the other. Northern countries such as Canada and Sweden have, for decades, helped create an international policy framework focused almost exclusively on deforestation in the tropics, obliterating the fact that industrial logging in northern countries issingle greatest driver loss of tree cover in the world, with devastating consequences for climate and biodiversity. Reinforcing the claims of the northern logging industry, governments in the Global North market their forestry practices as sustainable forest management, setting them in stark contrast to practices in the Global South. This myth has supported the wood, pulp and biomass industries of these countries, and not only allowed but encouraged the clear-cutting of some of our planet's last carbon stores.

Even with their latest commitments, the same governments are using definitive solutions and lobbying tactics to avoid implementing these agreements in their own backyards.

The effects of this paradigm go beyond the Global North; in maintaining a system that lets itself off the hook, northern countries are undermining progress everywhere.

The declaration reinforces the recent call for the establishment of a Glasgow Declaration Accountability Framework (GDAF), a mechanism for driving equitable and shared progress towards the 2030 goal of halting deforestation and land degradation. GDAF, supported by agroup of African environment ministersand more than 100 civil society organizations, would create processes and standards to promote and track shared progress globally in both the Global North and Global South.

This push for global accountability is occurring as the economic systems that enable the status quo are beginning to understand the inherent dangers of a lack of global accountability and the opportunities that consistent and clear standards can provide. For example, shareholders of Procter & Gamble andHome Depot have overwhelmingly called for these companies to strengthen their sourcing practices to create more upstream accountability.

The international community has the opportunity to chart another path, this time by building the accountability mechanisms that will bring policy from commitments to practice.

The statement serves as a counterpoint to the UN's International Day of Forests theme of Forests and Innovation, which celebrates the intersection between forests and technology in addressing climate and biodiversity crises. However, as the statement warns, Innovation in an accountability vacuum is not only prone to failure, but also dangerous. Innovation must start from a foundation of knowing what standing forests already provide and accurately calculating the cost of cutting them down.

Ultimately, the actualization of positive change for forests will only come from revising and transforming the latitudes that have hindered decades of commitment. The landscape of international politics is bursting with potential and promise. Accountability will be what leads the world into a new season.




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