Tale: Regnskogfondets 25-årsjubileum

Ladies and gentlemen I am happy to be here today to celebrate the Rainforest Foundation’s 25th anniversary. My first meeting with the rainforest as minister, was Indonesia in April. We visited Borneo, the province of Sentral-Kalimantan. It was an experience I never will forget. Fabulous birds, trees and orangutangs walking along the river banks. Meeting indigenous people that have strong links to their forest. All in all, the trip to Indonesia was an eye-opener. Now I truly understand why protecting the world’s rainforests is such an important job for the world community.

Ladies and gentlemen


I am happy to be here today to celebrate the Rainforest Foundation’s 25th anniversary. 


My first meeting with the rainforest as minister, was Indonesia in April. We visited Borneo, the province of Sentral-Kalimantan. It was an experience I never will forget. Fabulous birds, trees and orangutangs walking along the river banks. Meeting indigenous people that have strong links to their forest. All in all, the trip to Indonesia was an eye-opener. Now I truly understand why protecting the world’s rainforests is such an important job for the world community.


But for the Rainforest Foundation all this is not new. For 25 years now, you have been working for the rainforests.  That is impressive.


Lars Løvold - and for the last two years, Dag Hareide - have over the years built team of dedicated, extremely experienced people. 


Together you have made us all accountable for the state of the rainforests, and worked to protect the world’s living forest and its people.


As an organization, you have had a “hands on” approach. It is also 25 years ago the Rainforest Foundation started its engagement in Brazil. During the first years you helped preserve a forest area roughly half the size of Norway for the Amazon Indians. 


Over the years the Rainforest Foundation expanded its activities, and is today working in 11 countries in South America, Africa and Asia. 


Today you are working to stop illegal logging, supply chains causing deforestation and human rights violations. 
Always working in the interest of the rainforest and its people.

And always working with the small and vulnerable, against the big and mighty.
In the beginning of September this year four ashaninka indians were killed in Peru. They worked for the rights to their land and to stop illegal logging. Rainforest Foundation supported their work. 
This tragic loss reminds us that the situation is serious for many people in the forests and that we need to continue our efforts.

The Rainforest Foundation is dealing with deforestation from many different angles. This is an approach I think is important to keep. 


The Norwegian Climate and Forest Initiative became part of our climate policy after the Climate Agreement of 2008. You were the ones pushing politicians to support the idea of protecting the world’s rainforests. In the Norwegian climate negotiations, my party (the Conservatives) demanded that rainforest protection should be a part of Norwegian climate policy. 


And today, the climate and forest initiative is Norway’s key contribution to the global fight against climate change. 


The working principle for our initiative is to deal with deforestation from many different perspectives. This is in large part to your credit.


Through several bilateral partnerships countries are paid for verified emission reductions from deforestation and forest degradation. 


This is to help our partners fundamentally transform the way their forests are managed.  
Transformational change requires changes to policy and laws, to enforcement and incentives, as well as to strategies for development and economic growth. 


It involves everyone; indigenous peoples, civil society, the private sector and government.
Through my own visit to the rainforest in Indonesia, I have myself grasped the complexity of this work. We met the business sector, local government, indigenous groups – and when they all get together the results are better.


I want to underline that the private sector is stepping up its effort to fight deforestation.Today more than 60% of the global palm oil producers are committed to remove deforestation from their supply chains. 
This is a great victory, and for this we should thank the Rainforest Foundation and other NGOs. You have played an important part to make this happen.


Soon, deforestation free supply chains could become a global norm. 

Two days ago I participated in the European launch of the report “A new climate for growth”. It was the work of an independent commission of experts.


One of the most important points made in the report is that the alternative to green growth is in the long run no growth. 


This is an important message to us all. We simply can not continue along the current path. 
Change will be challenging. It will be hard. But it is possible. 


Cities must be a solution, not a problem. Smart use of land and planning can save us from deforestation. New energy solutions can help us stop climate change and sustain modern living standards. 


To do this we need a strong partnership of forces willing to change:

We need efficient governments.
We need a forward-looking private sector
And we need NGOs, like the Rainforest Foundation, that can play their part as watch dogs.


In other words: Rainforest Foundation Norway, we need you now, more than ever.
And we count on you as our best ally, and our steadfast critic. 

Now, I have been told that when you come to a birthday party, you need to bring a present. And I have. But this present is not only a gift to you, but to everyone fighting your fight. 


Today, I am proud to announce that – as part of the 2016-2020 support to civil society – this government will contribute at least 100 million dollars to support indigenous peoples and forest dwelling societies. 
This is a lot of money. But it is the right thing to do, because this support will go to the protection of the rights to the forests. 


It will ensure their participation in the processes determining those forests destiny.
In addition – I can announce that we have reserved 100 million dollars to support deforestation free supply chains and efforts to fight forest crimes and enhance global transparency on forest issues. 


We do this to step-up the way key stakeholders are able to participate in forest governance globally. This issue is important, and we want forest policy to be inclusive and a topic that is debated in parliaments, in NGOs, in universities, and around the kitchen tables. Real transformational change is needed to secure a victory in the fight against deforestation.


For 25 years Rain Forrest Foundation Norway has made a difference and helped us in this transformation. 
Over the next 25 years, I am convinced that you will see incredible progress. 
The point where what you have believed all along, will become conventional wisdom: 


That natural forests are treasures to be protected, not expendable sources of temporary wealth. 
And the world will be a better place for it. 


Happy birthday, and please carry on the fight!

 

 

Klima- og miljøminister Tine Sundtoft var i regnskogen for første gang da hun besøkte Borneo i april 2014. (Gunhild O. Santos-Nedrelid /Klima- og miljødepartementet)