With more than 68 million hectares of forests, Peru has one of the five largest, most diverse and best preserved tropical forest areas in the world. It is also estimated to be one of the world’s four largest tropical forest carbon stores.
These forests are in DANGER. Look at the situation in the Peruvian Amazon:
In Peru, around 50% of total GHG emissions -or 71 million tons of CO2 per year- are generated by changes in land use, mainly through the conversion of amazon forest to subsistence agricultural practices at a rate of around 110,000 ha/year.
Deforestation of tropical forests represents one of the most significant anthropogenic land use changes in history. Emissions from land-use change constitute over 46% of the overall GHG emissions of the LAC region, a figure significantly above the world average of 18%. The LAC region lost four million hectares per year between 2005 and 2010, which amounted to the world’s worst deforestation rates.
These deforestation rates have severe consequences on global and local climatic conditions, on the loss of biodiversity, and on increased flooding, siltation and soil degradation.
Deforestation also represents threats to the livelihoods and cultural integrity of forest dependent people and the supply of forest products as well as ecosystem services for sustaining Peruvian growing population.
It is estimated that the impacts of climate change in Peru could cause losses that exceed 20% of GNP by 2050, due to the fact that the country´s main economic sectors (mining, energy, agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism) are highly sensitive to climate change.
So, how do we reduce emissions from deforestation, while at the same time provide the necessary food to a growing population, AND preserve the forests and the ecosystem services they provide, AND create jobs and new economic opportunities in sustainable agriculture and forestry?
The GOOD NEWS is that the Government of Peru, Norway, Germany and the IDB have COME UP WITH PART OF THE SOLUTION:
Peru is taking action to reduce its forest related emissions and to make its forest and agriculture sector carbon neutral by 2021, while recognizing millions of hectares of indigenous peoples’ land claims.
Norway just committed up to US$300 million until 2020 to pay for verified results in the reduction of deforestation, while Germany supports Peru on climate and forest issues, and will consider further contributions on the basis the delivery of results.
Peru will work to deter the conversion of soils under forests and protection categories to agricultural use and will take measures to reduce deforestation from logging, natural resource extraction and mining.
The IDB will provide technical assistance and accompany Peru to achieve the commitments upon which financial resources will be received.
The country will establish a new forest law and an ambitious public private coalition with multilateral companies committed to ambitious zero deforestation policies.
Peru will develop measurement and reporting systems to monitor the results of all these activities and the environmental and social impacts of keeping its forests alive.
While this is a huge step towards a new development model of protecting the natural capital of Peru while shaping a more robust economy, much more needs to be done to have an inclusive and fair process to involve native communities, to involve the private sector and to maintain political will on the basis of this great milestone for Peruvian forests.
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