UK government to refine proposals for bilateral deforestation and climate fund

UK government to refine proposals for bilateral deforestation and climate fund

The launch of a long-awaited new British fund for tackling deforestation drivers in forest nations is still on hold as UK government agencies continue to finalise the business case for the initiative. Meanwhile, UK NGOs have continued to press the government to ensure transparency in the governance structure for the fund, which is to be geared towards supporting tropical countries to combat deforestation and curb land use emissions. 

In a joint letter and technical briefing paper sent to the government in April, NGOs, including Forest Peoples Programme (FPP), FERN, Greenpeace, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and Global Witness urged the government to finalise its planned Forest and Climate Change (FCC) programme through a consultative and collaborative process with a clear schedule for implementation and an accountable mechanism to disburse funds under the UK International Climate Fund (ICF). 

In a public consultation held in London in May and hosted by the Department for International Development (DFID), the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the Department for Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), NGOs and private sector participants both called on the UK to enable demand-side and supply-side regulatory reforms in order to tackle greenhouse gas emissions, slow deforestation and ensure respect for community land and livelihood rights. 

In July, the NGOs group (including FERN, RSPB, Rainforest Foundation UK, Greenbelt Movement and FPP) met with DFID Minister Lyn Featherstone to table their recommendations on how to improve the design of the FCC. In the meeting NGOs highlighted the need for the FCC to, inter alia:

  • Support community systems of forest governance, landscape management and resilient local economies and recognise the role of forest peoples as key rights holders and economic actors
  • Act on evidence of the effectiveness of secure community tenure in stemming forest loss and in delivering multiple benefits for local livelihoods and forest peoples, including women 
  • Support initiatives to assist governments, the private sector and forest communities and civil society to implement the FAO Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security
  • Avoid FCC finance for Advance Market Credits (AMCs) for the forest carbon market as this risks “gazumping” UNFCCC negotiations 
  • Ensure greater involvement of forest peoples and civil society and use of their knowledge in the design and implementation of the FCC

In response, the Minister committed the government to revisiting the business case to examine how NGO recommendations might be incorporated into the final FCC design prior to being finalised for ministerial approval in late 2013.

NGOs still await sight of the new business case and plan to meet with DECC this autumn to further communicate civil society proposals for an effective new UK climate and forest initiative.

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