Norway Becomes World’s First Country to Zero Deforestation
Norway has eventually become the first country to completely zero deforestation. It was pledged in the Norwegian parliament on May 26, 2016, that the government’s public procurement policy will be deforestation-free.
Norway is a major funder of the forest conservation project across the world and also assists human rights programs for forest communities.
The Rainforest Foundation Norway has been on the victory fight for a number of years to secure a zero deforestation commitment from the Norwegian government with a statement saying: “Norway is the first country in the world to commit to zero deforestation in its public procurement.”
Norwegian parliament’s standing committee on energy and Environment recommended the pledge as part of the Government Action Plan on Nature Diversity.
Rainforest Foundation Norway Nils Hermann Ranum said that Norway’s commitment to go deforestation-free was an important development in efforts to protect rainforests and called on other countries to follow Norway’s lead.
Nils Hermann Ranum said in a statement that “Over the last few years, a number of companies have committed to cease the procurement of goods that can be linked to the destruction of the rainforest and until now, this has not been matched by similar commitments from governments. Thus, it is highly positive that the Norwegian state is now following suit and making the same demands when it comes to public procurements.”
Rainforest Foundation Norway and other NGOs have worked for many years to reduce the consumption of goods that contribute to tropical deforestation. Any product that contributes to deforestation will not be used in the Scandinavia country. A study launched December 2015 shows that the production of Beef, palm oil, soy, and wood products in seven countries (Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Paraguay, and Papua New Guinea) was responsible between 2000 and 2011 for 40 percent of total tropical deforestation and 44 percent of associated carbon emissions, Climate Action reported.
This is not Norway’s first anti-deforestation rodeo. In 2008, Norway gave Brazil which is a home to about 60 percent of the Amazon $1 billion to help fight against deforestation, and Brazil delivered mongabay.com. By 2015, the South American nation reduced deforestation by 75 percent, saving more than 33,000 square miles of forest and keeping 3.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, an amount that was three times bigger than the effect of taking all the cars in the U.S. off the road for a year according to National Geographic.
The success of the partnership was praised by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
The ideal partnership between Brazil and Norway through the Amazon fund shows quality support for one of the highest climate change mitigation actions in the past decades, which is a commendable example of how international collaboration should be done to ensure we have a great planet.
World Wildlife Fund reported that the Amazon has lost about 17 percent of her trees in the last 50 year.
“Other countries should follow Norway’s leading and adopt similar zero deforestation commitments,” says Ranum.
The recommendation by Norway to the parliament in their action plan also includes that the government exercise due care for the protection of biodiversity in its investments through Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global.
The GPFG, the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world, currently has a policy on climate change which targets tropical deforestation as a priority issue but does not have a distinct policy in place to protect biodiversity.
The committee requested that the government “impose a requirement to ensure that public procurement does not contribute to the deforestation of the rainforest” Ranum said, “the German and the UK must act following their joint statement at the UN climate summit”.
In September 2014, Norway made a joint declaration with Germany and the UK at the UN climate summit which joined the three countries to “ promote national commitments that encourage deforestation-free supply chains, through public procurement policies to sustainably source commodities like palm oil, soy, beef, and timber ”Huffington reported.
Steps in the Right Directions
The recent pledge of Norway is a victory step the country has taken to fight deforestation. Several projects worldwide are fund by the Scandinavian country.
Worldwatch Institute reported that the Norwegian government announced a $250 million commitment to protect Guyana’s forest. The South American country, which has its forests zoned for logging, received the money from 2011 to 2015.
Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Guyana’s mister for foreign affairs said, “our country is at a stage where our population is no less materialistic (than industrial countries) and no less wanting, we want to improve our development but we can’t do that without a form of payment”. Guyana is unique among others in the initiative because it forest is not faced with much deforestation pressure.