UK pledges funds in fight against deforestation

2014-09-23 11:01
A deforested area in Brazil's northern state of Para. (File, AP)

A deforested area in Brazil's northern state of Para. (File, AP)

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New York - Britain on Monday promised $234m to step up the fight against deforestation, tackling a key contributor to climate change on the eve of a UN summit.

Britain will provide another $137m over three years to expand a programme that improves the rule of law including property rights in the rainforests, Britain's international development secretary Justine Greening said.

Greening credited the programme's progress in nations including Indonesia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and especially Liberia, where she said the work has helped stop illegal logging.

"Good governance is a prerequisite for tackling climate change", Greening said in New York at the Ford Foundation, which has been active on anti-deforestation efforts.

"Weak governance, ambiguous and unjust laws and contested use of land mean that community rights in the forest are still the exception rather than the norm in too many countries", she said.

With the new funding, the programme will tackle not just logging but also look at common products that come from illegally cleared land such as palm oil, beef and soy, she said.

Greening said Britain would also set up a new programme with $97m in funding to work with companies to remove deforestation from their supply chains and help small-scale farmers in their transition.

She encouraged other countries to follow Britain's goal of ending all use of unsustainable palm oil, which is used in food and cosmetics, by the end of 2015.

Deforestation is responsible for the equivalent of around 10% of the emissions blamed for climate change as the lush, tropical woods serve as a counter-balance to greenhouse gases.

World leaders are meeting on Tuesday at the United Nations in a bid to set the stage for a new international agreement on climate change at a conference next year in Paris.

Read more on:    un  |  conservation  |  environment  |  climate change

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