Somare co-hosts REDD reception

National, Normal

NEW YORK: Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare co-hosted a reception last Thursday in New York to promote REDD+ before the Climate Change meeting (COP16) in Cancun, Mexico in November.
Sir Michael and his co-hosts president of Gabon Ali Bongo Ondimba and president of Guyana Bharrat Jagdeo are members of the Coalition of Rainforest Nations.
All three leaders said international mechanisms designed to deal with REDD+ have largely failed to deliver real progress, “meeting after meeting, promise after promise, but no funds have been delivered to our countries. Pledges remain a mirage.
“The World Bank and the United Nations tangle us in endless process and conditions,” Sir Michael said.
He told the gathering that it was pure and simple, economics drives deforestation. Markets today value forests more destroyed than standing.
“Through much hard work, we are steadily convincing policymakers, NGOs and the private sector that forests are worth more alive than dead.
“Candidly, I am not sure we would be here today without the 50 tropical countries working together as the coalition for rainforest nations. This shows that tropical countries must continue to lead the way.”
“REDD+ can deliver multiple benefits: mitigation of climate change, preservation of biodiversity, protection of habitats, clean water and alleviation of poverty in developing countries.
“REDD+ and all its co-benefits can no longer be held hostage by UN negotiations that are mired in self serving inaction. While we must support the United Nations process where possible, we must steadfastly refuse to let the UNFCCC bureaucracy impede our progress.
“All of us, rich nations and poor, must find a new momentum for REDD+ action today within low-carbon development plans. And as developing countries move closer to implementing our plans, we can contribute to the battle against climate change.”
Sir Michael said he was pleased with the number of interested people that attended the reception.
Attendees included Hollywood actor Leonard di Caprio, and Hedge fund owner George Soros and other philanthropists who pledged their support for real action on REDD+ and the Coalition for Rainforest Nations.
Sir Michael is in New York for the 65th United Nations General Assembly meeting and presented his statement yesterday.