Meeting national commitments under the Paris Agreement, and decreasing deforestation and degradation of rainforests in the Asia-Pacific region, cannot be achieved by government alone or through government policy which doesn’t adequately reflect activities on the ground. It requires strong leadership and partnership with the private sector as well as a clear financial mechanism that covers the costs associated with protecting forests and compensates for lost government revenues in the form of license fees while at the same time rewarding investment in efforts to reduce deforestation and undertake forest conservation and restoration. Ultimately, in the absence of a legal obligation to act or an economic return for acting, such efforts are likely to be displaced by activities with a higher economic return which inevitably lead to deforestation.
A Private Sector Roundtable was established in December 2015 to foster private-public cooperation on reducing deforestation and fostering forest conservation and restoration in the region. Comprised of leading regional businesses including primary producers, financiers and other organizations, the Roundtable was tasked with preparing actionable recommendations for consideration at the Brunei Summit.
The Roundtable has prepared a package of policy briefs outlining recommendations from the private sector perspective on key areas including: i) the regulatory environment required to foster forest restoration and conservation; ii) conservation finance opportunities and challenges; iii) how to monitor and report on progress of private sector projects and programs’ contribution to national objectives; and iv) the business case for further investment in forest conservation and restoration.
The Roundtable has gone one step further and has put forth projects which are addressing the issues of deforestation and REDD+, community livelihoods, biodiversity, and carbon sequestration which can be scaled-up through collaboration with additional partners and/or through additional financing.
This session highlighted what a number of companies have been doing in the region on forest conservation and restoration and discussed the barriers to catalyzing private sector capital into efforts to reduce deforestation and undertake forest conservation and restoration. It specifically focused on the challenges being faced by current approaches and the potential options for achieving greater public-private sector cooperation on financing forest protection.Further reading: