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Bonn kick-starts the New York Declaration on Forests

At the COP23 in Bonn – three years after the 2014 New York Declaration on Forests (NYDF) was passed – the UN Development Programme (UNDP) launched the Global Platform for the New York Declaration on Forests (NYDF Platform), a central coordination body that aims to kick-start efforts toward achieving the goals outlined in the NYDF.

Currently signed by more than 190 governments and companies, NGOs and indigenous communities, the NYDF is a voluntary, non-binding political declaration; endorsers commit to take action to halt global deforestation in order to cut natural forest loss by 50 per cent by 2020, and strive to end it by 2030. Its ten specific goals are accompanied by an action agenda.

Yet, three years down the road, implementation of the NYDF goals has been limited. Housed under the UNDP Secretariat, the new platform is intended to send a global signal of genuine intent and to advance implementation of the goals by increasing political ambition, accelerating action and monitoring progress. The NYDF Platform is based on the premise that the goals can be achieved only through cooperative action but, if achieved, could eliminate between 4.5 and 8.8 billion tonnes of CO2 each year. The NYD Platform will collaborate with the NYDF Assessment Partners, a coalition of civil society groups and research institutions annually assessing progress towards NYDF goals.

They will have their work cut out: the recently published NYDF assessment report, which focuses on finance and forests, reveals that current forest finance is not enough to end deforestation. Actual commitments fall ten times short of the estimated USD 200 billion required to shift to deforestation-free commodity production. Public and private sector cooperation is urgently needed, and the new NYDF Platform’s ambition is to re-energise these efforts.