World's Main Forest Regions Strengthen Co-operation at Brazzaville Summit

Brazzaville (Republic of the Congo) / Nairobi, 8 June 2011 - Countries from the tropical forest ecosystems of the Amazon, Congo and South East Asia have strengthened co-operation on the sustainable use of forest resources to achieve national economic growth, at a major summit in Congo-Brazzaville.

The Summit of Heads of State and Government on Tropical Forest Ecosystems brought together representatives from 32 countries from the world's main forest regions for the first time. The summit was hosted by the government of the Republic of the Congo, with support from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and other UN agencies.

Delegates adopted a joint declaration to work together to improve the sustainable management of tropical forests. It addresses issues such as biodiversity, climate change, national development and deforestation in the context of the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban in December 2010 and next year's UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Brazil (known as Rio+20).

In the declaration, the heads of state and government affirm their commitment to put in place enabling mechanisms that would encourage position the forest sector as a key tool for the transition towards a low-carbon, resource efficient green economy, sustainable development and poverty reduction in their countries.

The Amazon, the Congo basin, together with the tropical forests of Southeast Asia cover 31% of the world's land area, house more than half of all terrestrial biodiversity and contribute to the livelihoods of more than one and a half billion people. The forest basins provide vital ecosystem services and goods – such as food and timber resources and water purification - that underpin human wellbeing and a vital part of regional economies.

Delegates at the Brazzaville summit stressed the need for adequate, reliable and sustainable financing to allow their countries to meet the challenges of sustainable forest management and other forest-related commitments.

They recommended new public-private and civil society partnerships, as well as multilateral co-operation, to facilitate investments to strengthen forest-related sectors in their countries.

Particularly, the Heads of State and Government called for concrete steps on how to move forward international financing instruments such as the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD+) initiative and secure the phase 3 funding that tropical forest basin countries critically need.

They appointed Mr. Bharrat Jagdeo, President of Guyana, as Goodwill Ambassador for the forests of the three basins to work with developed and developing countries to find solutions and resources to improve management of these globally vital forest resources.

The Brazzaville Declaration, which recommends that forests be considered as a priority area at next year's Rio +20 conference, is the first step towards a more formal co-operation agreement on forests between countries of the three major tropical forests basins and other countries worldwide.

Delegates mandated Denis Sassou Nguesso, President of the Republic of Congo, to coordinate the development of the cooperation agreement, in consultation with the countries of the three tropical forest basins and relevant regional organizations (Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO), The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Central African Forests Commission (COMIFAC).

The next summit will be held in June 2010 in conjunction with the Rio+20 sustainable development conference in Brazil. It will review progress made since the Brazzaville summit and aim to adopt the co-operation agreement in time for Rio+20.

A draft version of the Brazzaville Declaration can be viewed


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