The President of Guyana, Bharrat Jagdeo, and the Prime Minister of Norway, Jens Stoltenberg, met in Oslo today.
They agreed on the need to keep climate change firmly at the top of the international agenda and underlined that it is essential to reach an ambitious agreement in Copenhagen in December. They agreed that if the world is to prevent irreversible climate change, it is essential that greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation are drastically reduced, given that deforestation and forest degradation currently cause about one fifth of the global emissions.
To achieve this vital objective, they agreed that determined and concerted action is needed. They emphasised that efforts under the UNFCCC towards Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) efforts must be properly designed to ensure that deforestation is significantly reduced in countries where it is already occurring, and avoided in countries where deforestation rates are still low.
Relevant efforts could include results based, adequate, predictable and sustainable financial compensation – to be ultimately determined through future UNFCCC negotiations – from developed countries to developing countries for their REDD efforts. Such compensation would provide funding for a shift away from forest-dependent employment and income generation, towards support for the creation of low carbon development and low deforestation economies.
Norway and Guyana will seek to establish closer cooperation on climate and forest issues:
· Together with other interested parties, they will work to ensure the establishment of a comprehensive REDD mechanism under the UNFCCC post-2012 climate change agreement to be agreed in Copenhagen in December 2009.
· The Guyanese-Norwegian bilateral cooperation will support ongoing multilateral initiatives. The UN REDD Programme will be crucial, as will the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, and UN, World Bank and EU efforts on forest law enforcement, governance and trade issues, as well as international efforts to support the development of low carbon economies world-wide.
· The bilateral co-operation will be founded on a broad-based, transparent, inclusive, multistakeholder national strategy developed in Guyana. Crucial components will be the creation of low-carbon employment and investment opportunities in Guyana, sustained efforts to avoid deforestation and forest degradation, strengthening open, transparent forest governance, and establishing an international monitoring, reporting, and verification system for Guyana’s forests. A financial mechanism run by a reputable international organization will be set up through which performance based compensation can be channelled to implement Guyana’s low-carbon development strategy.
· On this basis Norway is prepared to provide performance-based, substantial and sustained compensation for the progress Guyana makes in limiting emissions from deforestation at low levels and further decreasing forest degradation. In cooperation with Guyana and its multilateral partners, this will include contributing to the development and implementation of the necessary strategies and reforms, capacity building, and developing, funding and implementing suitable low-carbon and adaptation investments.
Norway and Guyana will work together both on climate change issues in general and on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in particular, and invite other countries to join their efforts.
Oslo, 3 February 2009