For related articles and more information, please visit OCA’s Environment ad Climate Research Center page.

CC BY 2.0 Flickr user Laura

One of the major announcements made at yesterday’s UN Climate Summit was the New York Declaration of Forests, a public-private partnership with the ambitious goals of ending deforestation by 2030 and restoring 150 million hectares of degraded forests by 2020.

These are worthy goals, as it becomes increasingly clear that stopping deforestation is a key measure to fighting climate change. There are many other benefits to protecting forests, such as safeguarding biodiversity and preserving the traditional cultures of indigenous peoples.

The declaration is a significant step in the right direction, with some of the world’s biggest industrial users of tropical commodities are committing their support.

But does the agreement go far enough to reach the goal of zero deforestation by 2030? It’s useful to compare the measures against the recommendations made by Forest Trends, a non-profit committed to forest conservation, just a few weeks ahead of the UN Climate Summit.

The New York Declaration on Forests includes a number of the recommended measures. Perhaps most importantly, it places emphasis on empowering forest communities and recognizing the rights of indigenous peoples, who are extremely effective at protecting the tropical forests they call home.

“What I’m seeing here at the summit is governments and companies coming forward with commitments that are consistent with what indigenous people stand for, what they need and what they want,” said Charles McNeill, a senior policy adviser for the United Nations Development Program. The New York Declaration on Forests also pledges support for producer countries to fight deforestation.