Increase financing for forests to save our planet – Lands Minister states at UN forum

Mr Samuel Jinapor addressing the Forum

The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Jinapor, has called on world leaders to increase financing for forest action to tackle the triplet planetary crises of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss.

Speaking at the Nineteenth Session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF19), at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, the Minister said the capacity of forests in combating the triplet planetary crises calls for an urgent need to re-examine forest financing options to stimulate investment efforts towards achieving the globally agreed goals on forests, climate change and biodiversity.

The United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) is a functional commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), established in 2000 to promote the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests, and to strengthen long-term political commitment towards this goal.

Made up of all UN Member States, the Forum meets annually, to assess progress of work, adopt decisions and make commitments towards achieving the goal of the Forum.

The nineteenth session of the Forum, which begun on 6th May, 2024, is also undertaking a mid-term review of the implementation of the International Arrangements on Forests.

On Thursday, 9th May, the Forum held its High-Level Ministerial Segment and forest partnership dialogue on the theme, “Forest-based solutions to the triplet planetary crises: A focus on people, science and technology.”

Addressing the Forum, Mr. Jinapor decried the continuous destruction of global forests, despite the increasing global knowledge and understanding of environmental challenges and the potential of forests to contribute to tackling these challenges.

According to the World Resources Institute, tropical primary forest loss in 2023 alone, totaled three point seven million hectares (3.7 million ha), and accounted for two point four gigatonnes of carbon dioxide emissions (2.4GtCO2e). And it is estimated that some Three Hundred and Ninety-Three Billion US Dollars (US$393 billion) is required, annually, to save the world’s forests.

Referring to these statistics, Mr. Jinapor said global leaders need to take urgent, concerted and collaborative action to save the world’s forests, the planet, and the lives and livelihoods of the one point six billion (1.6 billion) people who depend on forest resources for survival.

He said Ghana, under the leadership of President Akufo-Addo, has taken several initiatives aimed at forest protection and conservation, including the Ghana Forest Plantation Strategy, the Green Ghana Project, and the Ghana REDD+ Strategy.

Mr. Jinapor said developing countries which host some forty-five percent (45%) of global forests, face enormous challenges in protection and conservation, particularly financial challenges. He said Ghana has had to expend her limited resources on sustainable forest management due to the importance Government attaches to forest.

The Minister bemoaned the continuous default by developed countries to honour their pledges to support developing countries in sustainable forest management. This lack of commitment, he noted, is, also, manifested in the inconsistency in carbon pricing. “Why should the price of carbon in Europe, for example, be different from Africa, or in the Americas be different from Asia?”, the Minister quizzed.

He, also, called for a comprehensive programme for incentivising local communities that depend on forests to preserve these resources, noting that the world benefits more from forest conservation than the gains to these communities.

The Forum, which ends on Saturday, 11th May, 2024 will adopt a declaration and a number of resolutions aimed at promoting sustainable forest management.