Forest and climate partnership

Speech by Prime Minister Erna Solberg at a field trip in Leticia, Colombia, 10 April 2018.

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Today, Colombia has taken a big step to strengthen the rights and autonomy of its indigenous peoples. This is not only an issue of social justice, and a long-fought victory for Colombia's indigenous peoples. It is also good climate policy. 

The people living in the forests are the best guardians of the forests. Indigenous territories have seen less deforestation than the rest of the Amazon – even less than in the protected areas. Indigenous peoples' rights are therefore key to our partnership. 

Colombia has decided to freeze the agricultural area. This means that no area covered by forests in 2010 should be used for agriculture, and that all forest areas deforested since then should be restored. This is globally significant. 

Norway has been a proud partner of Colombia since the launch of our climate and forest partnership along with Germany and the United Kingdom in 2015. 

Under President Santos, Colombia has made great progress since then. You have:

  • expanded protected areas and indigenous reserves;
  • enacted a landmark carbon tax;
  • set up a world-class monitoring system for deforestation
  • launched a public-private alliance for deforestation free agriculture
  • brought together all key ministers to combat deforestation. 

After declining for many years deforestation recently started increasing again following the peace agreement. President Santos takes this situation extremely seriously. I share his sense of urgency.

New special units of police, military and environmental prosecutors are now in place in several key states to quickly address this emergency and turn deforestation back down.

I am visiting you at a turning point in Colombia’s history: the challenging transition to peace and reconciliation after decades of conflict. President Santos has often stressed that peace and forest protection go hand in hand. Norway is proud to be a partner for Colombia on both fronts. 

Reducing deforestation will require an end to impunity for illegal land speculants, and to expand the state's presence in the regions. Success will require determination and patience.

Norway will remain a close, predictable and long-term partner of Colombia at it moves forward.

Today President Santos and I agreed to extend our climate and forest partnership beyond 2020. This will be the world's first ambitious forest partnership under the Paris Agreement. 

We will not meet the climate goals in the Paris Agreement without stopping and reversing global deforestation. Forests can contribute as much as one third of the climate solution over the next 15 years.

Norway will support Colombia's goal to end natural forest loss by 2030. Our support will help Colombia go beyond their own unconditional climate goal under the Paris Agreement.  

Norway intends to pay Colombia for verified emission reductions, up to 50 million dollars per year through 2025, and to consider extending our support through 2030 

I am confident this partnership will set  gold standard for international climate collaboration.