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South American Officials Stress Role of Forests in Combating Climate Change

6 October 2011: Directors and high-level officials of the forests services of South American countries have agreed on the need for common and regional approaches to the challenges facing the continent's forests, in particular climate change.

Representatives from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname and Uruguay, as well as of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (RLC) met at RLC headquarters in Santiago, Chile 4-5 October 2011, for the Second South American Forest Dialogue under the theme "Forests and Climate Change."

The Dialogue addressed, inter alia: sources of financing; regional alliances; the current status of forest management institutions in the region; the role of forests in mitigating climate change generally and REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, as well as conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks) in particular; combating deforestation; the state of play in the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF); and the role of forest plantations. Participants noted the "eco-efficient" role of the region's forests in capturing carbon, with the Executive Director of Chile's National Forest Corporation (CONAF), Eduardo Vial, underlining that his country's forests offset the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from its agriculture and livestock industries.

Participants committed to cooperate on improving information, communication and valuation of the forest sector and its role in conserving biodiversity, mitigating climate change, preventing natural disasters, and contributing to poverty eradication. They agreed to work on technical measures to ensure the comparability of baseline assessments of forest resources across the region. They also concurred on developing a common vision of forests and forestry across sectors that takes into account the various linkages among forests, climate change and people.

Participants further agreed on the need to improve access to credit for the sector, not only to combat deforestation, but also to promote other aspects of sustainable forest management. They concluded that the current and future forest concession regimes should fully take into account the carbon market and new types of bond offerings. [CONAF Press Release (in Spanish)]