Addressing peoples’ needs critical to forest protection

community forestry2
Copyright: Tri Saputro/CIFOR [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]. This image has been cropped.

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  • Forests are carbon sinks but also support livelihoods and food security
  • Integrated approach needed to achieve targets without hindering peoples’ incomes
  • This involves strengthening public-private links and inter-country partnerships

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[JAKARTA] An international meet on rainforests heard scientists and other attendees calling for responsible land use, land-use change and forestry as vital for countries to meet their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC).
Participants at the 3rd Asia-Pacific Rainforest Summit, held 23—25 April in Yogyakarta, said while forest conservation and management were critical, an integrated approach was needed to achieve the NDCs, which  each UN-member country identified as part of commitments to reduce greenhouse gas (GhG) emissions under the Paris Agreement.
Forests are regarded as carbon sinks that absorb nearly a third of fossil fuel emissions. They also play a role in supporting people’s livelihood and food security, leading to deforestation, identified as a major contributor to climate change.

“Look not just at forests, but also at the competing demands for land”

William McGoldrick, The Nature Conservancy

“Look not just at forests, but also at the competing demands for land,” said William McGoldrick, director of climate strategy at The Nature Conservancy. He noted that the forest sector supports other sectors, including agriculture and energy, hence the need to invest in forest restoration and revegetation.
Andrew Campbell, chief of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, said proper planning was vital to achieve “productive use of landscape”, especially in relation to climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Campbell recommended identifying and promoting a forest with clear land tenure as a case study which can be replicated by other regions or countries. “We need to make sure that these successes are replicated, not undermined.”  
He said while there are a number of environmental initiatives such as REDD+, people are not likely to get interested, especially if it concerns their source of income. “If people don’t get alternatives, they’re not going to listen.”
Ida Bagus Putera Parthama, director-general of Indonesia’s Watershed and Protected Forests Management, reminded that forests are a potential source of carbon emissions in the country. “In order to achieve the NDC target without hindering the development and livelihood support of people, the country should set up enhanced funding mechanisms in the forest sector and have collaborative, cross-cutting policies.”

Lee Cando, regional specialist for Asia and Pacific at the NDC Partnership, a coalition of countries and institutions working to achieve climate goals, suggested using a ‘whole-of-society’ approach in attaining the NDCs and emphasised the vital role of the private sector and civil society organisations.
Cando said that the guiding principles of the NDC Partnership support an inclusive and multi-stakeholder engagement. “An integrated approach can reduce the vulnerability of a community by increasing its ability to cope with the stressors of climate change.”
An integrated approach is not limited to links between private and public organisations within a country, but inter-country partnerships are also important, Cando said.
“One country cannot solve the climate change problem by itself,” Cando added. “One must work in a collective manner to reduce GhG emissions and increase the resilience of people, particularly the poorest and most vulnerable. We are all connected in this world and we tackle a problem common to all — climate change.”  
This piece was produced by SciDev.Net’s Asia & Pacific desk.