A conference bringing together more than 60 nations Thursday added $1 billion to the fight against deforestation and boosted the morale of those hoping to save the world's forests — a key defense against global warming.
Three months after a morose ending to climate change talks in Copenhagen, the one-day ministerial meeting in Paris attended by heavily forested countries such as Indonesia and those in the Amazon and Congo basins amounted to a confidence-builder for nations wondering what comes next in the battle against deforestation, many delegates said.
"We entered the meeting with $3.5 billion. It went to $4.5 billion (here) and we want to arrive in Oslo with $6 billion," Brazilian Environment Minister Carlos Minc said after the closed-door talks.
Countries have signalled their commitment to REDD+, with many developing countries, including Brazil and Indonesia, announcing targets for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. In Copenhagen, $3.5 billion was pledged for REDD+ by Australia, France, Japan, Norway, the UK and the US.
The 64 nations agreed to create a core structure of some 10 countries to work on the mechanics of equitably distributing funds and other issues. The idea is to arrive at the U.N. climate talks in Cancun, Mexico, in December with a concrete plan devoted specifically to the critical issue of deforestation.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, opening the conference, said defending the world's forests demanded more aggressive funding.
Governments will seek a new climate partnership in 2010 to protect tropical forests with funds going through the United Nations, the World Bank or bilateral channels, Norway said on Tuesday.
"The idea is to establish a partnership of everyone who wants to be included" in safeguarding forests, Environment Minister Erik Solheim told Reuters. "It will be open to everyone, even if you don't contribute one single dollar, even if you don't have a single tree," he said. The partnership would help reinforce U.N. negotiations on a deal to slow deforestation.
Asked how the $3.5 billion would be spent, Solheim said: "The money is under national control of each government but we want to establish mechanisms in the United Nations and the World Bank on how to use the money."
"I think that it will be a mixture of bilateral agreements of the type we have ... as well as global schemes within the U.N. and the World Bank," he said, adding that each forested nation had sovereignty to manage its natural resources. Norway's bilateral forest plans include up to $1 billion for Brazil from 2008-15, up to $280 million for Guyana from 2010-15 and about $83 million for Tanzania. Each of those schemes has strings attached, depending on performance.
More than 100 nations have endorsed a Copenhagen Accord, the main outcome of the December summit, which seeks to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F) and foresees almost $30 billion in aid for developing nations from 2010-12, rising to $100 billion a year from 2020.
"There was broad agreement on sustainable forestry use. We can take that forward," Solheim said. "There are other similar areas where steps are possible -- technology, climate adaptation, financing, systems for monitoring and verification of reductions" in greenhouse gas emissions, he added.
Germany has promised devote 20 to 30 per cent of its overall 2010-2012 fast-start climate change funding to the initiativ. Ten nations from among both developed and developing nations were appointed to form a REDD+ steering group.
A second meeting is scheduled for Oslo, Norway in May.
Paris talks keep up REDD+ momentum