Paraguay and Indonesia act to stop forest loss by 2020The announcements follow commitment made at the Convention on Biological Diversity's Conference of Parties in Bonn in May to achieve zero net deforestation by 2020. The measures announced are also part of their response to fighting climate change. Deforestation, particularly in the tropics, is the third largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, generating between 15-20 per cent of global carbon emissions.
Paraguay announced it will implement a policy to achieve and maintain zero net carbon emissions from land use changes by 2020. As part of this policy, it will extend the country's Forest Conversion Moratorium, or Zero Deforestation Law, by another five years when it expires in December. Enacted in December 2004 and renewed in 2006 for another two years, the law prohibits the transformation and conversion of forested areas in Paraguay's eastern region. Implementation of the law has led to massive cuts in deforestation rates from between 88,000–170,000 hectares annually before the law came into force, to a current level of approximately 16,700 hectares annually.
"We will extend the moratorium on deforestation until each state has created a land-use plan showing how they will contribute to achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions at a national scale by 2020," said Dr Luis Cassacia, Paraguay's Minister of Environment.
Other initiatives announced by Dr Cassacia include establishing credible and transparent systems to measure, report and verfiy how much carbon is stored under different land uses, and promoting mechanisms that complement the country's Payment for Environmental Services Law, integrating them in the national poverty alleviation strategy.
On Indonesia's part, it announced the government will no longer tolerate conversion of forests for establishing crop plantations. The government will also forge ahead with its forest-carbon initiative, aimed at conserving biodiversity, reducing carbon emissions from land-use changes, restoring ecosystem services, and generating innovative incentives for sustainable development.
"New crop plantations such as oil palm have to use idle lands," said Mrs. Hermin Roosita, Indonesia's Deputy Minister of Environment. "Also, starting with Sumatra, Indonesia will adopt a sustainable development model that uses ecosystem-based spatial planning."
Both Kalimantan and Sumatra, which has seen forest cover declined in the last 20 years, are already implenting the policy on establishing new plantations on idle lands. Papua and Aceh, both important provinces for biodiversity conservation, are realising their commitment to the forest-carbon initiative through protecting their remaining forests. More provinces will join them.
At the same event, Colombia's Director General of National Park, Mrs. Julia Miranda Lodoño, also announced a regional plan to develop a network of protected areas in the Amazon, which includes establishment of joint mechanisms for effective cross-country conservation actions. This process aims to achieve both representative protected area networks, and build resilience to climate change.
"We are very pleased that the countries are reaffirming their commitment towards zero net deforestation by 2020, and taking such ambitious actions to realise the target, which WWF introduced in Bonn," said Mr. James Leape, Director-General of WWF International. "We call on the international community to help and support them."