Report on Forest Day 1

Shaping the Global Agenda for Forests & Climate Change

In parallel with UNFCCC COP13

Ayodya Hotel, Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia
Saturday, 8 December 2007, 09:00-18:00 hrs

Report On Forest Day

One of the major events at this year's UNFCCC COP 13 in Bali was the first-ever "Forest Day", hosted by CIFOR and partner organizations from the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF). Forest Day provided an international, multistakeholder forum on forest and climate change policies at global, national and local levels. More than 800 people participated in Forest Day, including scientists, members of national delegations, and representatives from intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations.

The Opening Plenary featured a welcome from M. S. Kaban, Indonesia's Minister of Forestry, standing in for President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, followed by a video message from Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Mathaai. Participants then heard brief perspectives on the challenges of integrating forests into the climate change adaptation and mitigation agendas from Kathy Sierra of the World Bank, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Rudy Rabbinge of Wagenigen University, and Ernesta Ballard of the Weyerhaeuser Company.

In the plenary discussion that followed, Forest Day participants raised a number of issues that were examined in depth during the crosscutting theme sessions and various side events later in the day. These included the importance of ensuring biodiversity co-benefits if forests are included in the post-2012 climate protection regime, and governance challenges related to the development of carbon trading mechanisms involving corporate actors.

A major feature of Forest Day was four parallel panel discussions focusing on cross-cutting themes related to forests and climate change. These well-attended discussions examined such issues as setting baselines and methodological challenges in estimating forest carbon; markets and governance challenges associated with Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD); adaptation to climate change; and equity-efficiency trade-offs.

Forest Day also featured 25 side events at which a wide range of organizations presented their work and fostered further discussion on issues ranging from biofuels for climate change mitigation, to optimizing potential biodiversity benefits of REDD, to the business perspective on forests and climate change. In addition, dozens of poster presentations and exhibitions at the Forest Day venue showcased the results of research and action around the world on such topics as carbon monitoring systems, REDD options and risks, case studies of forests and adaptation, and the challenge of managing peat forests.

At the Closing Plenary, CIFOR Director General Frances Seymour read out a "Forest Day Summary" compiled by a CPF drafting committee based on the Opening Plenary and the cross-cutting theme panel discussion sessions. Areas of consensus emerging from the discussions included the following:

  • While there are significant methodological challenges to be surmounted, current methods are "good enough" to proceed with the design of mechanisms for reducing emissions from both deforestation and degradation.
  • Governance-related challenges pose the greatest risks for both international investors and local stakeholders in the context of new mechanisms.
  • Mechanisms should be simple, and should not repeat the mistakes of the Clean Development Mechanism.
  • The success of any REDD mechanism will depend on the political will to address the drivers of deforestation, including drivers that originate beyond the forestry sector.
  • Adaptation efforts need to shift from responsive to anticipatory, and should be focused on the most vulnerable, including forest-dependent people.

A number of areas in need of further consensus-building and research were also identified.

Yvo de Boer of the UNFCCC Secretariat was on hand to receive the Forest Day outcomes, and stated in his remarks that the summary would provide useful input to negotiators the following week. The Closing Plenary also featured remarks from Emmanuel Ze Meka of the ITTO, Don Ko Lee of IUFRO, and Boen Purnama of the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry.