The headlines on newspapers say it all: Germany and Norway to give $1.5 billion to fight deforestation. Do I miss something here?
Well, it has been found out that deforestation contributes much on the carbon dioxide emissions as much as the cars, planes, and other fuel-loaded modes of transporations combined. That's a lot of emissions from one source which can be mitigated by concerted efforts of governments, both rich and poor which have differing stakes in the issue.
I hate the idea that money can solve environmental and social issues. Sure it could help a whole lot more to address them, but please do not build and reduce the proposed solutions on financial terms.
The Copenhagen Accord made a general and broad reference to the significance of addressing the deforestation in relation to climate change mitigation and adaptation. It is time to have a dedicated and focused conference on the issue.
An international regime to manage, handle and monitor the Reducing Emissions from Deforestations and Degradation (REDD)-Plus program must be established to start the challenging and important task of slowing down deforestation. This regime also takes care of the financing efforts to assist countries that have high deforestation rate such as Indonesia, Brazil, and other countries with considerable forest cover within their territories.
Beyond the financial matters, what is important is the political will of the governments to go after the destructive activities, either legal or illegal, that clear forest, cut trees, and flatten mountains and hills. These activities are driven by strong financial backing by huge transnational mining, logging and insfrastructure companies that know the way to have their projects approved even in the midst of controversies and resistance from the local communities and environmental activists. There is a need to involve these stakeholders in the decision-making processes of environmentally-critical projects.
In this way, we can hope for a participatory governance of a common natural resources.