Kit Batten – Closing Remarks: From here to Paris

Global Climate Change Coordinator for USAID, Kit Batten, delivers remarks at the closing plenary on the second day of the Global Landscapes Forum 2014, in Lima, Peru, during COP20.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Global Landscapes Forum, Lima, Peru

#COP20GLF #ThinkLandscape

Kit Batten – Closing Remarks- From here to Paris (Transcript)

KB:                     [0:01] And thank you so much to CIFOR and to the Global Landscapes Forum for this exciting two days of events that we’re now concluding. We’ve saved the best for last, and maybe not the best-best in everybody’s opinion, but we get some really great perspectives from Poland, from Peru, and from Norway in terms of how we’re going to get to Paris, how we’re going to achieve success here in Lima, and some very exciting remarks. So thank you for staying. What I take from the last two days of discussions is that we are getting a broad range of stakeholders really engaged in this problem. From indigenous communities to government officials, to scientific experts and the private sector leaders. There has been significant progress that’s been made, and the importance of seeing this progress is further encouraged in the outcomes in Paris and in our actions in the post-2020 region.

[0:55] As we all know, the land sector including forests and agriculture is responsible for approximately a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions, and in some countries this up to 80 per cent of emissions. We also know that our landscapes are already suffering from the impacts of climate change. Anything from increases in average temperatures, changes in rainfall patterns, more and frequent storms, more wildfires, and more pest outbreaks. All of these impacts affect the ability of our landscapes to provide the very services that we depend upon. Food production, clean water, nutrient cycling, biodiversity protection, cultural values, recreation, and much more. It’s obvious to me why the land sector is a key part of our country’s response – all of our countries response – to climate change now and in post-2020.

[1:43] Fortunately, our countries and other stakeholders are already taking action and this is very clear from the past two days. We’ve seen a number of developing countries set policies to protect their forests and other lands, to work with stakeholders to make this possible. We’ve seen the development of national strategies to reduce emissions from forest degradation and deforestation, and to enhance carbon sequestration. We’ve seen countries link action on REDD+ to adaptation measures, to ensure that the most vulnerable lands are being protected while at the same time reducing emissions. We’ve seen baselines established against which we will measure success and progress in reducing emissions. We’ve seen court cases which have assigned land right to indigenous communities and recognizes their rights to measure their lands. We’ve seen governments looking at rural development in a whole new way, seeing land use as a way to generate economic development in the long run. We’ve seen companies and investors shift their business practices in order to reduce deforestation and to value and reward better land use.

[2:49] We’ve seen countries choose to account for new activities on new lands and their commitments that they’re bringing to the table. And we’ve seen new tools developed to monitor our collective progress and hold us accountable. And we’ve seen in my own country President Obama announce that our intended nationally determined contributions would reflect an economy-wide commitment. Significant work is underway in order to identify additional opportunities to reduce emissions from our lands and increase carbon sequestration. And as just one example, we’ve already committed to take – one example that we’ve already committed to take is that the United States is committed to restoring 15 million hectares as part of our contribution to the Bonn Challenge.

[3:35] One country or a handful, however, is not enough in order to achieve the necessary goals. That’s why we’re committed to working with other countries, civil society, and the private sector and partnerships such as the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020, which addresses commodity driven tropical deforestation globally. We’re working on innovating new solutions to complex landscape challenges, to scale up appropriate and effective solutions, and to ensure that the economic development that we’re investing in also protects resources, communities, and the planet. That’s why we’re so excited to see innovations already happening in this area. For example, in September in New York, we saw the signing of a new Indonesian palm oil pledge by four leading palm oil producing companies and the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce. Committing to following industry leading sustainability practices in order to green their supply chains. And including proactive government engagement on policy reform and adopting a policy of no planting on high carbon stock or peat lands.

[4:39] So, when these companies account for 60 per cent of global palm oil production, this really is a very significant step forward. Our collective process in the land sector has been very impressive. We’ve demonstrated land use can provide real mitigation opportunities in countries big and small. We’ve demonstrated that we can measure progress and we’ve demonstrated stakeholders want to take action, to use their lands more wisely, and to better adapt to inevitable climate change. But we have so much more work to do. As we work together towards a new agreement in Paris next year, we all need to seek out mitigation options available to each of us. This means countries must seek out options for action in their land sector that make sense given their national circumstances. It means that finding actions that provide both resilience and carbon sequestration benefits are key. It means generating livelihoods which are compatible with forest protection. And it means developing agricultural systems that are truly climate smart. It means restoring fragile lands and soils to protect lives and property, producing more on less land, and giving people the ability and the incentive to measure their lands for future generations.

[5:53] So, we must work together to create a flexible land sector framework which works for all countries, and which inspires additional action. We must continue to demonstrate transparently that results from the land sector are real. And we must take action in a way that secures long term benefits that will last for generations to come. And we must secure an agreement which will make this possible. Fundamentally, these global landscape challenges are inextricably linked to development. We must design and follow development pathways that are sustainable for nations, people and the planet. And with that, I would love to welcome the distinguished panel that’s here to speak with us today. I’m going to introduce everybody shortly and then start with a question to each of, to have you then give some remarks.

[6:45] So, our first speaker is Katarzyna Snyder, who is head of the Polish Delegation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and was the head of the COP 19 presidency team. And then we’ll hear from Per Pharo, who is the Director of the Government of Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative in the Ministry of the Environment. And then finally a man who needs no introduction.