The Tropical Forest Alliance brings together governments, the private-sector and civil society organizations to work together to remove deforestation linked to the production of commodities such as palm oil, beef, soy, and pulp and paper.
Bringing an abrupt halt to deforestation is essential to avoiding the worst effects of global climate change predicted to impact our world. The destruction of forests creates almost as much greenhouse gas emissions as global road travel, and yet it continues at an alarming rate.
In May 2019 the Government of Colombia and the Tropical Forest Alliance convened more than 250 high level leaders from government, business and civil society to showcase the interlinkage of deforestation-free supply chains with broader food, biodiversity, climate and livelihood challenges, advance jurisdictional approaches and agree a path forward to accelerate commodity flagship jurisdictions.
Colombian President, Ivan Duque, used his address at the 2019 Tropical Forest Alliance Annual Meeting, to signal strong support for the national action plans to stop tropical deforestation in Colombia, including a pledge that Colombia will replant over 180 million trees in 2020.
This meeting was an important summit for members of the Tropical Forest Alliance who are collectively gaining ground on their mission to remove deforestation linked to the production of four commodities: palm oil, beef, soy, and pulp and paper.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned that a rapid change across all aspects of society is required to limit global warming to 1.5°C, and avoid an irreversible natural tipping point. And a landmark United Nations report from IPBES has warned one million animal and plant species could disappear in the next few decades - the most that have ever been at risk in human history - as a result of human activity.
Yet rising demand for food and consumer products is accelerating deforestation, particularly in tropical areas. The world continues to lose primary tropical forest equivalent in size to Belgium each year. It is estimated that 70% more food calories will be needed to feed a world population of 9 billion by 2050, while demand for wood products will also continue to increase.
The Tropical Forest Alliance is a global public-private partnership that aims to remove deforestation from four global commodity supply chains – palm oil, beef, soy, and pulp and paper. The Alliance brings together over 155 partners from businesses, governments, civil society, indigenous people, communities and international organizations to help producers, traders and buyers of forest-risk commodities achieve their commitments to ensure deforestation-free supply chains. It also helps governments of tropical forest countries to realize better growth through sustainable rural development in partnership with civil society and indigenous people. Because solutions to deforestation challenges differ between regions and commodities, the Alliance’s impact is often that of incubating more specific sectoral and geographic partnership hubs in West and Central Africa, South East Asia and Latin America.
The Alliance has created impact worldwide. In 2019 members launched a new $20 million BioCarbon fund for Sustainable Forest Landscapes (IPFS). This multilateral fund supported by the governments of Germany, the United Kingdom, Norway, the United States, Switzerland, and the World Bank, will promote sustainable development and low carbon use in the Colombian region of Orinoquía. Specific programs will focus on reducing deforestation and forest degradation, promoting smart climate agriculture and sustainable land use policies.
In 2016, the TFA launched the Marrakesh Declaration for the Sustainable Development of the Oil Palm Sector in Africa at the Marrakesh Climate Change Conference. The declaration saw seven African governments (Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Liberia, Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone) pledge to protect their tropical forests by shifting to sustainable palm oil production. Together, the seven countries cover more than 250 million hectares of tropical forests, or 13% of the world’s total forests.
In support of its commitment to reducing deforestation in tropical forest countries, the Tropical Forest Alliance has throughout the years grown its partner members and continues to bring on board those key actors committed to tackling deforestation.