Wednesday, 20. June 2012
Forest civil dialogue concentrates on halting deforestation and forest restoration
The next civil dialogue was on forests. Civil society voting via the internet had championed the recommendation to ‘restore 150 million hectares of deforested and degraded lands by 2020’. This reflects a commitment already made by some governments, together with companies and organizations in the so-called ‘Bonn Challenge’ of September 2011. Panelist Julia Marton-Lefevre, director general of IUCN, presented this initiative at the civil dialogue.
Andre Giacini de Freitas, director general of FSC, was also a panelist. His main message was that “forests should remain forests. Governments need to give priority to halting deforestation, in legislation and in practice, but also support the sustainable use of forests, which have multiple functions, ecological, social and economical.”
He mentioned that not only environmental organisations but also global companies have started committing to these objectives, which supports sustainable forest management.
Yolanda Kakabadse, president of WWF International, continued on this theme, presenting her organization’s campaign for zero net deforestation by 2020. Even though this demand had not been introduced as part of the dialogue, the panel, with strong support from the audience, decided to include it in the recommendations to the Rio+20 Conference.
Another potential recommendation was to support forest certification, but this did not receive sufficient support over other proposals. The panelists and audiences made several comments on forest certification. Anders Hildeman, from IKEA, underlined the role forest certification plays in the responsible sourcing policy of his company. Klaus Töpfer, former executive director of UNEP, challenged certification organizations to include the creation of local jobs in their requirements, to increase the local added value of forest product use.
In the end, the audience chose to support a proposal that originated from panelist Professor Becker (Brazil): to ‘promote science, technology, innovation and traditional knowledge in order to face forests’ main challenge: how to make them productive without destroying them’.