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Volume 490: debated on Monday 30 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps he plans to take to ensure that an international agreement on reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation does not result in countries which have rainforest receiving funding for the replacement of natural forests with plantations. (266801)

[holding answer 26 March 2009]: The Bali Action Plan recognised the relevant provisions of the convention on biological diversity (CBD) as well as other international agreements to ensure that the maximum environmental benefits of paying for the carbon mitigation services of forests are achieved. The UK has been leading the way in looking at this. Dr. Bob Watson, DEFRA Chief Scientist, chaired a meeting of experts on biodiversity and climate change to provide biodiversity-relevant information to the UNFCCC. The first part of this work was already presented to the UNFCCC in Poznan, and the next meeting will be held in April.

Primary forests are generally more carbon dense, biologically diverse and resilient than other forest ecosystems. The December EU Council Conclusions supported the use of gross deforestation rates. This would include only primary forest in a country's forest reference level and so countries would not be compensated for replacing natural forests with plantations.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what funding his Department has provided to assist developing countries to participate in international negotiations associated with forestry and climate change. (266802)

[holding answer 26 March 2009]: The UK provided £40,000 to support developing countries' attendance at a meeting of the Coalition of Rainforest Nations1 on developing a shared position on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) ahead of the twelfth United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the parties meeting in Nairobi in 2006. An additional £60,000 was provided by the UK to support developing countries' participation in a REDD international negotiators workshop in Indonesia in October 2007. These meetings were essential to make progress on the issue ahead of the thirteenth UNFCCC Conference of the Parties meeting in Bali in December 2007. The UK is supporting central African countries' consideration of their approach on forests and climate change in preparation for the climate change talks in Copenhagen in December this year.

1 Countries include: Bangladesh, Belize, Bolivia, Central African Republic, Cameroon, Congo, Colombia, Costa Rica, DR Congo, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, El Salvador, Fiji, Gabon, Ghana, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Indonesia, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Samoa, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Thailand, Uruguay, Uganda, Vanuatu and Vietnam.