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Only 8 of Top 20 Deforestation Nations Set Targets in NDCs: UN Report

Recent UN-REDD report reveals a critical gap in global climate action plans, emphasizing the urgent need to address deforestation to combat climate change.

Saurabh Shukla
Only 8 of Top 20 Deforestation Nations Set Targets in NDCs: UN Report (Photo Source: Pixabay)
Only 8 of Top 20 Deforestation Nations Set Targets in NDCs: UN Report (Photo Source: Pixabay)

A new UN report released on June 10, 2024, underscores a critical gap in global efforts to combat deforestation, revealing that only a fraction of the top countries with the highest rates of tropical deforestation have included quantified targets for forest conservation in their national climate action plans.

Titled "Raising Ambition, Accelerating Action: Towards Enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions for Forests," the UN-REDD report, conducted by experts at the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), comes at a crucial juncture as nations convene for the Bonn Climate Change Conference.

Despite widespread acceptance of the pivotal role forests play in mitigating climate change, the report exposes a stark reality: current Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), submitted between 2017 and 2023, fall short of the global ambition to halt and reverse deforestation by 2030. Only eight of the top 20 countries grappling with rampant deforestation have specified targets in their NDCs, falling short of the global commitment.

While some NDCs include targets related to afforestation and reforestation, experts caution that addressing deforestation must take precedence. The report emphasizes the time lag in carbon capture between deforestation and reforestation efforts, underlining the urgent need to curb forest loss.

Furthermore, integrating existing national strategies to combat deforestation is deemed crucial. While 15 of the top 20 countries have adopted such strategies, their incorporation into NDCs remains incomplete.

The implications of failing to address deforestation are profound, as forests not only sequester carbon but also regulate hydrological cycles, mitigate extreme weather events, and safeguard biodiversity and human health. Dechen Tsering, Acting Director of UNEP's Climate Division, emphasizes the need for comprehensive and ambitious climate action plans, stressing the importance of supporting Indigenous Peoples and local communities on the frontline of forest conservation.

Looking ahead, the report calls for urgent international collaboration to ramp up NDC's ambition. With the next round of NDC submissions looming for COP30, nations are urged to include concrete and measurable forest targets in their revised commitments. However, increased ambition must be accompanied by robust financial support for forest-rich countries to facilitate immediate action.

In light of escalating deforestation rates, the report serves as a wake-up call, emphasizing the imperative of concerted global action to protect our planet's invaluable forests and mitigate the looming climate crisis.

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