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Global Carbon Emissions

Volume 455: debated on Wednesday 10 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the contribution to global carbon emissions deriving from the burning of forests in South East Asia for the purposes of creating agricultural land; and if he will make a statement. (113184)

[holding answer 8 January 2007]: The Stern Review says that around 18 per cent. of global greenhouse gas emissions come from deforestation, and highlights the importance of reducing deforestation as part of the global effort to combat climate change.

In South East Asia, particularly Indonesia, there has been an observed increase in use of fire in land management (via slash-and-burn agriculture) and for large-scale conversion of primary and secondary forests into permanent agriculture or tree plantations.

There is a pressing need to find effective ways to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from deforestation, not only to tackle climate change but also because of the co-benefits to communities dependent on forests and for biodiversity. The UK Government's policy is that emissions reductions from reduced deforestation should be part of developing countries' participation in climate change agreements and our strategy to achieve this is to participate actively in the climate negotiations and associated technical discussions that can bring it about.

The UK has also supported action to improve forest governance through the work of the Department for International Development (DfID). For example, DFID's Multistakeholder Forestry Programme in Indonesia is supporting civil society-government partnerships, to change the way in which forestry policies are made and address tenure rights for forest-dependent people. This means giving a stronger voice to local citizens and a higher priority to environmental sustainability.

In 2002 the UK signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Indonesia that commits both governments to work together to tackle illegal logging and the associated trade in timber between the two countries. In January 2006, new funding of £24 million over five years to tackle illegal logging and underlying governance problems was announced. This will focus on tropical countries in Africa and Asia.