Reducing Tropical Deforestation Related to Key Agricultural Commodities

Closing remarks by Prime Minister Solberg, World Economic Forum, Davos 23 January 2015.

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Members of the World Economic Forum, ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you for inviting me to close this session. It is a special honour to do so together with Paul Polman, who has done as much for this agenda as anyone over the last years.

I would like to commend the leadership of the World Economic Forum for putting the issue of deforestation-free development so high on our common agenda.

Together, we face a historical challenge, but also a unique opportunity.

The New Climate Economy Report shows that we can do three things at the same time:

First, we can start the agricultural revolution that will be necessary to eliminate poverty and feed 2 billion more people by 2050.

Second, we can protect the world’s remaining natural tropical forests.

Third, we can restore forests and agricultural areas throughout the tropics.

The benefits would be immense.

We could achieve strong, sustained rural socio-economic growth.

We could help deliver a quarter of the climate change
mitigation the world needs to stay on a two degrees warming pathway
towards 2030.

And we could protect biodiversity and crucial ecosystem services.

We know that this is doable because we have here, in this room, the beginnings of a truly innovative, truly global public–private partnership.

Last September, the New York Declaration on Forests set out the goals we are striving to achieve and the commitments we must make to do so.

It is now time for this partnership to come alive.

We must act together. The benefits for all of us are immense. But none of us can succeed on our own.

The private sector has provided inspiring leadership. The soy moratorium in Brazil is one impressive example, the commitment to deforestation-free palm oil is another.

Now – in 2015 – those pledges must be implemented and broadened.

Deforestation-free supply chains must be extended to all relevant commodities.

The financial sector must join our coalition. Investment in deforestation-free rural development must increase. Investment in activities that cause deforestation must decrease.

We must ensure that indigenous peoples can fulfil their crucial role as the best guardians of the forests. Civil society also has an important role to play in holding us all accountable.

And most important: The right public policies must be put in place.

The economic playing field must favour sustainable over non-sustainable activities.

Otherwise, the companies that are now leading the way will be undercut by less responsible competitors, and environmental gains will not last.

Therefore, tropical forest countries and partner countries must also deliver on their commitments.

It is in the interest of tropical forest countries to take stronger political leadership.  Doing so, however, will have significant political and financial costs in the short term.

This burden has to be shared, and finance must be provided to support the necessary reforms

That is why the Lima Challenge – presented in December last year – is so encouraging. In this document, a number of tropical forest countries make two important commitments:

Firstly, to reduce deforestation through their own efforts.

Second, to do even more if the international community steps forward with large-scale financial support.

This is a remarkable challenge, which deserves a determined response.

Governments in partner countries need to commit to large-scale payments for reduced emissions from deforestation at the national level, based on the UN Climate Change Convention.

Indeed, a key recommendation from the Global Commission on the New Climate Economy is to scale up such payments to at least 5 billion US dollars per year for the period up to 2030.

We concur. Norway is willing to consider scaling up its contributions in this field – from the current 500 million US dollars a year – if others do the same.

The Climate Change Summit in Paris in December this year will be the time and place to deliver on climate and forest finance.

Let me end by again thanking you all warmly for your efforts. As I said at the beginning, we have great challenges ahead.

But we can also do great things – if we all do our part. It will not be easy, but the goal is a future that is truly worth having – for everyone.

So, let’s work together to ensure that, by December, we have built strong new partnerships – based on solid commitments – in Southeast Asia, in Africa, and in Latin America.

Let’s make 2015 the year we really make it happen, together. 

Thank you.