Director-General Supports Action to Protect Forests with Indonesian President

On 24 September, the Director-General of UNESCO participated in 'The Transformative Potential of REDD+ -- A Global Legacy in the Making,' led by HE President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of the Republic of Indonesia, co-organised with the Government of the Kingdom of Norway.

The event was held at the UN headquarters in New York, and saw interventions from UNESCO, UNDP, UNEP, FAO, the Convention on Biological Diversity as well as the Global Canopy Programme, UNOrchid, and the Centre for International Forestry Research. 

President Yudhoyono spoke of Indonesia's leading commitment to reducing greenhouse emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. 

"Forests are essential to mitigating the impact of climate change," said the President, drawing lessons from the experience of REDD+ thus far. These include the importance of the regulatory framework, education, appropriate coordination mechanisms and an inclusive approach.

Speaking for the Prime Minister, Ms Tine Sundtoft, Minister of Environment of Norway, highlighted the leadership of Indonesia in promoting REDD+. She presented this as a way "to combine forest protection with solid economic growth -- the recipe lies with the REDD+ strategy."

For its part, UNESCO is supporting the implementation of REDD+, drawing on the unique network of biosphere reserves, and work to foster new skills through education for sustainable development and the Green Schools programme. 

"As we move forward, we must share lessons learned and also work with local communities to craft new approaches to mitigating the impact of climate change while fostering inclusive and sustainable growth," said the UNESCO representative. "UNESCO will draw on all its networks and expertise to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation." 

All participants paid tribute to the visionary leadership of the Indonesian President, in leading REDD+. The discussion highlighted the importance of creating positive incentives for the private sector, working on demand as well as supply and, most of all, of changing mindsets -- for all societies to value the unique role of forests for the future. This is why it is so important to set an ambitious global sustainable development agenda to follow 2015.