Distracted Driving

The uninitiated ECO reader may think a driver is a less ostentatious term for a chauffeur, but in REDD+ a driver is an underlying cause of deforestation or forest degradation.

This week in Bonn, SBSTA has this on their agenda. ECO thinks it’s vital that all parties explore ways to identify, assess and address drivers. Otherwise we risk wasting REDD+ financing and failing to achieve our goal. Ultimately it is global demand that drives most deforestation and forest degradation. All parties therefore have a responsibility to act on this, as spelt out in the Cancún decision on REDD+.

What does this mean? Drivers should be dealt with at the level they occur, be it local, provincial, regional, national or global. In the forest country itself, issues of governance become significant, as does the need to satisfy the demand of local populations for things like cooking fuel. Marginalised, forest dependent communities should not bear the brunt of blame and retribution for their impact on forest areas when the impact from outsiders is much larger.

You can’t solve problems in a forest for long simply by taking the chainsaw from a logger. You also need to address demand for paper products or luxury furniture that is motivating the logging company. The same issues of deforestation apply to our consumption of products from oil palm, beef or soy production, which are produced mainly for international consumption.

This year, a decision is needed on the root causes of deforestation and forest degradation. One that recognises REDD+ host countries require financial assistance to do this, and identifies the need for all parties, north and south, to take responsibility for their role.

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