5th December 2011 COP 17 update: Forests, Famine and Climate Change Adaptation
2011 has been the International Year of forests. Sunday, 4th December was the official ‘Forest day’ at this year’s UN 17th Conference of the Party (COP 17) in Durban, South Africa. Co-hosted by the Government of South Africa, the Centre for International Forest Research (CIFOR), and the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), Forest Day 5 was convened under the theme “From Policy to Practice,” with a special focus on the role of African forests in mitigating and adapting to climate change.
At the forum, Emmanuel Ze Meka, Executive Director, International Tropical Timber Organization, said REDD+ offers a number of co-benefits when implemented, but noted that the funding source for REDD+ still needs to be addressed.
At a parallel civil society ‘fake forest day’ event held at the University of Kwazulu-Natal, Blessings Karumbiza of Timberwatch explained that only 3 African nations had ombudsmen looking at the Environment, thus unfortunately it was still not a priority for many African nations. Scientists, researchers, activists, representatives from non-governmental and indigenous people’s organizations called for caution toward REDD+ Initiatives. They emphasized that plantations of exotic trees could not replace the environmental benefits of indigenous forests in regulation of climate and rainfall patterns.
Both forums provided useful opportunities for Wetlands International Africa to share its experience in mangrove replanting across the coast of West Africa an important weapon in combating climate change.
A Solidarity event was held to honor the life and legacy of the late Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai. The Green Belt Movement, introduced a short film paying tribute to the late Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Wangari Maathai, and announced the launch of the “I am the Hummingbird Campaign” in her memory.
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