COP25: PEFC positions forest certification as a tool to mitigate climate change

Ana Belén Noriega, General Secretary of PEFC Spain presented the PEFC certification label as a guarantee of sustainable forest management in her intervention on the fourth day of the COP25 held these days in Madrid.

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Photo: PEFC Spain

The COP25 Climate Summit dedicated Thursday to forests and its role in the face of Climate Change. The General Secretary of PEFC Spain participated in the High-Level Meeting on Forests in a panel in which contributions were sought for resource mobilisation to provide forest-based solutions.

Pamela Castillo Brahona, Deputy Minister of Environment of Costa Rica, Gabriel Quijandría Acosta, Deputy Minister of Strategic Development of Natural Resources of Peru, Dirk Forrister, CEO and President of the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), Luiz Cornacchioni, President of the Associação Brasileira do Agronegócio (ABAG) and Mario Cerutti, Director of Institutional Relations and Sustainability of Lavazza also presented their initiatives.

Ana Belén Noriega explained how the PEFC label ensures from the forester to the consumer that products derived from the forest, timber or not, have been managed and produced sustainably. Noriega insisted on the urgent need to explain to young people the value of forests and the importance of the responsible use of their products in the fight against climate change, and stressed a recurring concern of the sector, “better communication is needed on what it means sustainable forest management for the awareness of society”. “Forests have to play an important role in the bioeconomy,” she concluded.

The President of International Conservation Jeniffer Morris, moderator of the event, started the session with the positive experience of Costa Rica. The Deputy Minister of Natural Resources Pamela Castillo said that in her country they have stopped deforestation, doubled the population, and tripled the economic benefits. Castillo said his challenge is to make the public and private sectors fit together, a necessary collaboration to achieve carbon neutrality that is materialising with environmental payments for producers and owners.

Gabriel Quijandría, Deputy Minister of Strategic Development of Natural Resources of Peru, second country in forest cover in America after Brazil, pointed out the deficit they have to face: “Maintaining a hectare of forest costs us 20 dollars and we receive only 5 dollars, so we need financing to conserve forest cover. ” There is a green protocol, said Quijandría, signed with the banks and is currently working on another option between rural banks and cooperatives.

Article 6 of the Paris Agreement entered the panel at the hands of Dirk Forrister, CEO and President of the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), who proposes to develop economic models that allow carrying out the zero net emission commitment, as occurs in California. Forrister said that large companies already invest more than 100 million dollars in the fight against climate change.

Forests are also very relevant for Mario Cerutti, Director of Institutional Relations and Sustainability of Lavazza in Italy. “The impact that forests have on the water cycle is very important, fundamental for the cultivation of coffee.” The coffee representative said “we develop projects to create employment and business opportunities for people living in the forest.”

Photo: PEFC Spain

As an introduction to this panel and during the opening session, Luis Planas, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of Spain spoke about the strategy of Sustainable Forest Management and its challenges: depopulation and fires. Spain is the first country in the fight against fires and is the third country in the EU with the largest forest area. “Our forests absorb 11% of Spain’s CO2,” he said.

In his speech, the Chilean Minister of Agriculture Antonio Walker said that Chile emits 0.26% of CO2 emissions and that the silvoagropecuary sector is carbon neutral because thanks to forests emissions from agriculture are compensated. For his part, Raúl Edesma, Minister of Environment of Ecuador, emphasized people living in the forests, pointing out that we must give sustainability alternatives to the populations of the forest territories to watch over and take care of the green lung of the world. “Nature does not take care of itself,” he said.

Spain and Chile offer solutions to strengthen the role of forests

In the early morning, as a welcome to the day dedicated to forests, the Summit brought together several representatives of the Chilean and Spanish industry and government that offered solutions to improve the situation of the forestry sector in both countries. José Manuel Rebolledo, Director of CONAF Chile, said that 74% of the forest area in this country is certified and said that the certification of sustainable forest management among small and medium forest owners who manage 10 million hectares will be enhanced of forest in Chile.

For his part, Juan José Ugarte, President of CORMA Chile said that his country is committed to wood construction, being the country that most builds on this material. Wood is a great CO2 hijacker: 500,000 wooden houses sequester 10 million tons of CO2. “It is us who must change, not the weather,” he said.

Fernando Miranda, Secretary General of Agriculture and Food of Spain, underlined the improvement of biodiversity and landscape while preserving flora and fauna in agricultural areas. He also pointed out the importance of giving opportunities to people living in rural areas through training and economic support and especially improving the situation of women in rural areas as leaders of these communities.

Photo: PEFC Spain