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InterAcademy Panel statement on Tropical Forests and Climate Change

01 December 2009

The Inter-Academy Panel on International Issues (IAP) issued a statement signed by fifty four of the world’s science academies emphasising the importance of deforestation as a driver of climate change. The statement calls for the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) mechanism to be an integral part of any global climate change framework and highlights the importance of finance for research, cooperation and developing country mitigation and adaptation efforts.

The statement can be downloaded and contains the following headline messages:

• There can be no solution to climate change without addressing deforestation;

• Deforestation must be addressed now, not later, if we are to meet an 80% CO2 reduction target by 2050;

• Forests play a critical role in the climate system by providing a natural carbon capture and storage function and by regulating rainfall patterns; sustainable forest management can make a major contribution to climate change mitigation;

• Deforestation of tropical forests accounts for around 17% of global carbon dioxide emissions: a failure to address this source of emissions will significantly compromise global efforts to tackle climate change;

• Intact and healthy forests provide food, energy, water, shelter and flood protection services, reducing the vulnerability of rural populations to climate change and enabling adaptation to climate impacts;

• Funding developing countries to maintain their forests, using already available methodologies, capacity and funds, will offer new opportunities for generating wealth and ending poverty;

• Any agreement reached as part of the UNFCCC negotiations must respect the rights of forest dwellers and forest dependent peoples when designing and implementing schemes, and promote sustainable development pathways that do not involve deforestation.