Five countries today joined the United Nations initiative aimed at combating climate change by creating incentives for poorer countries to reverse the trend of deforestation and invest in more sustainable forms of development.
Argentina, Cambodia, Ecuador, Nepal and Sri Lanka each asked to participate in the initiative, known as UN-REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries), adding to the initial nine member countries.
The five countries said they wanted to benefit from the expertise generated by UN-REDD and its activities, particularly concerning improved consultations with indigenous peoples and civil society, according to a press release issued by the programme today in Nairobi.
UN-REDD, which is a partnership between the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), hopes to eventually generate up to $30 billion a year of financial flows from rich countries to poor nations to help them reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
The initiative targets deforestation and forest degradation as related activities such as agricultural expansion, the conversion of forests to pasture land, infrastructure development, destructive logging and fires account for almost 20 per cent of global emissions of greenhouse gases.
In its first year of operations UN-REDD has approved more than $37 million in funding for the national anti-deforestation programmes of countries, including Panama, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Tanzania and Viet Nam. The programme says another 20 countries have voiced interest in joining.
Denmark also announced today that it is become the second country donor to the programme after Norway