World Bank aims to reduce deforestation rates by 10% by 2010 with help from WWF
May 25, 2005
New York — WWF and the World Bank (WB) today announced an ambitious global program aimed at reducing global deforestation rates by 10% by 2010. The announcement was made at the fifth meeting of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) both as a call to action for the international community and to mark the renewal of their cooperation agreement covering the Alliance for another five years. The present rate of global deforestation is more than 14 million hectares (about 54,000 square miles) per year, roughly equal to the size of Greece. Most of the losses occur in the tropics.
The background image shows deforestation associated with the Tierras Bajas project in eastern Bolivia where people have been resettled from the Altiplano to cultivate soybeans. The photo is from NASA's Earth Observatory.
Known as the World Bank/WWF Alliance for Forest Conservation & Sustainable Use (Forest Alliance), the program will support the establishment of new forest protected areas such as national parks, more effective management of forest protected areas, and improved management of forests outside of protected areas. The Alliance also will help to facilitate regional cooperation and the adoption of policies in support of more effective forest management.
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Since the Forest Alliance was first created in 1998 it has contributed to the establishment of 50 million hectares (193,000 square miles) of new protected areas, improved management for 70 million hectares (270,000 square miles) of protected areas, and responsible management of some 22 million hectares (85,000 square miles) of commercially harvested forests. These accomplishments have been achieved in pursuit of measurable targets, which the Forest Alliance has updated and expanded to drive further achievements by 2010.
The Forest Alliance has played a pivotal role in facilitating regional initiatives in the developing world and has been actively working with the private sector to promote responsible forest practices, through programs such as:
Support for the Brazilian Government's Amazon Regional Protected Area Program (ARPA). This ten-year program will protect 12 percent of the Brazilian Amazon and establish a US $220 million trust fund to support the on-going management of this protected areas network. The scope of ARPA is equivalent to building the entire U.S. national parks system in 10 years. ARPA has already added new protected areas totaling more than 17 million hectares (69,000 square miles) to the system of Amazonian protected areas in Brazil.
Collaboration with forest products companies committed to practicing responsible forestry. WWF's Global Forest & Trade Network, with support from the International Finance Corporation (IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank) is providing technical assistance and support to the business community to improve forest management practices.
The Forest Alliance will continue to work closely with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to put in place innovative financial mechanisms to fund a suite of initiatives and field projects that are helping to protect the global environment by leading to measurable improvements in forest conservation and management around the world.