Global climate action has failed to halt deforestation, UNEP warns

Source:CGTN 11-06-24 04:10 Updated BJT
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Failure to place efforts to halt deforestation at the heart of global climate response could slow down the transition to a green, resilient and prosperous future for the human race, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) said in a new report launched on Monday.

A swath of forest on a hill is cleared from trees to make way for a corn plantation in Polewali Mandar, South Sulawesi, Indonesia, April 20, 2024. /CFP

A swath of forest on a hill is cleared from trees to make way for a corn plantation in Polewali Mandar, South Sulawesi, Indonesia, April 20, 2024. /CFP

The report, titled "Raising Ambition, Accelerating Action: Towards Enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions for Forests," observes that many countries are off-track in meeting the 2030 target to halt deforestation, a scenario that could worsen the climate crisis, poverty, hunger and biodiversity loss.

Launched on the eve of a global climate change meeting in Bonn, Germany, the report says that greenhouse gas reduction targets that countries submitted between 2017 and 2021 failed to meet the ambitious goal of halting and reversing forest loss by 2030.

The report emphasized that forests are key in regulating climate, air and water quality, storing planet-warming gases, and providing a home to pollinators while their destruction threatens the global sustainability agenda.

"After the 2020 goal by world leaders to halve forest loss was not met, we must ensure that the 2030 goal does not meet the same fate," said Dechen Tsering, acting director of UNEP's Climate Division, in a press release issued by the UNEP in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital. "Climate action plans, due in 2025, need to have ambitious, consistent, detailed, targeted, and actionable goals for forest conservation, restoration and sustainable use."

So far, only eight of the top 20 countries most responsible for the destruction of tropical forests have fully integrated them into their national climate actions also known as Nationally Determined Contributions, the UNEP report says.

The report also says that forests have the potential to contribute to one-third of global greenhouse gas emission reduction efforts, as outlined in the Paris climate deal of 2015.

According to the report, sustained financing toward forest conservation should be accompanied by the harmonization of national climate policies and legislation to accelerate the green transition.

"Implementation of policies that encourage wider sustainable economic practices, for example, bio-economy approaches, can help drive long-term economic change, provide employment, and keep forests intact," the report says.

The report adds that providing alternative livelihoods to indigenous and local communities will be key to conserving tropical forests and enhancing their contribution to climate resilience.

Editor: Dingmaiqi
11-06-24 04:10 BJT
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