Meet our second Youth Session moderator: Jaime Webbe

Jaime Webbe, our second Youth Session moderator.

Jaime Webbe, our second Youth Session moderator.

Jaime will be moderating a youth roundtable discussion on key topics relating to the Summit theme “Climate change and low emissions development on the ground

Find out more about the youth session here!

In international meetings around the world, people are talking about forests. They’re talking about forests as great providers of ecosystem services, with respect to livelihoods, and within the framework of the transition to a Green Economy.

The thing to remember is this – in all these talks, in all these meetings, they’re talking about our forests.

I grew up in a forest – not in Asia but in Vancouver, Canada. I have attended many of those international meetings, as a member of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity. I have seen the dialogue on forests evolve from a sector specific discussion to the recognition that forests touch every aspect of sustainable development.

What has interested me most, though, is the emergence of forests as a dominant focus under climate change negotiations. Deforestation and forest degradation account for about 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions. This represents more than all emissions from agriculture.

It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) would feature so prominently in current efforts to mitigate climate change. Expanded to include the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks, REDD+ is expected to, with an investment of $US 30 billion a year, achieve significant benefits for the Green Economy.

But what does this mean for our forests? Asia is leading in REDD+ readiness – that is, the preparation for performance-based payments. Governments, civil society and international organizations are all looking at the progress being made in countries such as Indonesia and Vietnam as proof of the value and effectiveness of REDD+.

However, despite significant investments in REDD+, such as the $US 1 billion agreement signed between the Governments of Indonesia and Norway, there hasn’t yet been a global or even regional discussion on the multi-generational benefits of REDD+.

I want to be a part of the youth REDD+ revolution. The movement that recognizes that REDD+ investments are intended to deliver global environmental benefits that cross borders and generations.

In Vietnam, REDD+ documents call for the engagement of youth and suggest the inclusion of the Youth Union in REDD+ monitoring. I believe that empowering youth to embrace such opportunities may have a significant impact on the way the forest sector as a whole views the social, economic, cultural, and environmental benefits of Southeast Asia’s forests.

To achieve this, I am looking forward to the gathering of youth participants at Forests Asia. Discussing how we, as young people see our forests and our future, and learning more about our understanding and expectations for REDD+ will provide an important base on which to build stronger youth engagement.

REDD+ must be designed to meet both the needs of current generations and the expectations of the next generation of decision-makers. At Forests Asia, we will take the next step in that direction. At this meeting, we will be talking about our forests.

Jaime Webbe lives and works in a temperate rainforest. From her desk, which has a view of an eagle’s nest, she has worked for a number of international organizations including UNEP, UNDP and the International Institute for Sustainable Development. When she’s not working you’ll likely find Jaime running through the forest or walking on the beach with her two sons.

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