Protecting The World's Forests Needs To Be A Top Priority at COP21

This week, many of the world's leaders are gathered in Paris as part of the COP21climate negotiations to discuss the role of forests within the broader climate debate. This is a critical moment. COP21 is the last opportunity for the world to reach a legally binding agreement to tackle climate change. The protection of forests and peatlands need to feature in this agreement and in return, can make a major contribution to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.

The world needs the leaders to agree to a shared vision, matched by commitments, so that all of us -- the industry, governments, civil society and consumers -- can work together to halt and reverse the demise of the world's precious forests.

The recent devastation of forest fires has been exacerbated by one of the worst El Niños since 1950. The destruction of land, the displacement of people and grave health problems, which have affected many, serves to highlight the need for an urgent, regional and multi-stakeholder approach to tackling this problem. We hope those in Paris can focus on the following areas to help save the world's forests:

1. A Multi-Stakeholder Landscape Approach

This is a philosophical approach we have adopted as part of our own work in Indonesia, and the development of public-private partnerships is a key way to address several of the fundamental issues we face in effectively managing land for economic development while at the same time ensuring sustainable land supervision.

When it comes to forest protection, a landscape approach is vital. Administrative boundaries -- whether it be concessions, provinces, or countries -- simply don't matter. Forest conservation cannot be undertaken by individual actors but require all stakeholders in the landscape to work together. This means bringing together central and local government, companies operating in different sectors in the landscape from pulp and paper to palm oil to mining, civil society actors and local communities. We must look for and learn from examples of best practices, and in that regard, the solutions being presented during COP21 will be invaluable.

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