States and provinces from the world’s largest network of tropical forest states and provinces, the Governors Climate and Forests (GCF) Task Force traveled to Katowice, Poland, to take part in this year’s 24th Conference of the Parties (COP 24) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. At COP 24, GCF Task Force governors, delegates, and partners from Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Peru, and the United States participated in dozens of panels and meetings where they demonstrated the critical role of subnational governments in implementation of the Paris Agreement. They urged the international community to follow their lead and place tropical forest conservation, sustainable agricultural development, and involvement of local communities at the forefront of the global climate agenda.
Guided by the Rio Branco Declaration (RBD), a commitment to reduce deforestation by 80% by 2020, GCF Task Force jurisdictional efforts will be crucial in achieving the Paris Agreement by accelerating the implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), reducing deforestation, and closing the carbon gap.
The arrival of the GCF Task Force network in Katowice at COP 24 follows the momentum garnered in San Francisco, California at the 2018 GCF Task Force Annual Meeting and the Global Climate Action Summit, where GCF Task Force members endorsed Guiding Principles for Collaboration and Partnership Between Subnational Governments, Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities. At COP 24, the Global Steering Committee on Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities discussed the implementation of these principles at their meeting on December 10th. The Global Steering Committee held a parallel meeting on Agricultural Production and Tropical Deforestation, where members discussed opportunities arising with the Consumer Goods Forum and plans to launch regional working groups in early 2019.
Following these meetings, the GCF Task Force hosted a Governor’s’ Panel where Governors Noriega (San Martin, Peru), Melendez (Loreto, Peru), Vila (Yucatan, Mexico), Kubes (Pastaza, Ecuador), and Governor-Elect Pezo (Ucayali, Peru) shared insight from experiences within their states with fellow subnational leaders. During the panel, recently elected Governor Vila reaffirmed his state’s commitment to the goals of the Rio Branco Declaration, while Governor Kubes emphasized a message of unity and collaboration between governors in the network.
They were joined by outgoing Secretary of Environment Marcelo Dutra (Amazonas) Brazil and incoming Secretary of Environment, Eduardo Taveiras, who expressed their resolve to work collaboratively to keep the forest and climate agenda at the forefront of state-level efforts in Brazil amid significant political transition and turnover. Francisca Arara, Policy Advisor for the Agroforestry Association of the Indigenous Peoples of Acre (AMAAIAC) (Acre, Brazil), Diana Mori, Regional Manager of Development of Indigenous Peoples (Ucayali, Peru), and Hon. Commissioner Dr Alice O. Ekwu (Cross River State, Nigeria) followed by highlighting the importance of meaningful engagement with indigenous peoples and local communities in efforts to reduce deforestation.
GCF Task Force governors and delegates also used the COP as an opportunity to increase collaboration with the private sector and link production and protection activities. Emerging opportunities were explored during the “Jurisdictional Sustainability: Partnerships: Progress toward Low-Emission Development in the Tropics” panel organized by Earth Innovation Institute, Pronatura Sur, and the GCF Task Force. GCF Task Force Governor Victor Manuel Noriega, from San Martín, Peru, discussed his region’s innovative new financing mechanisms to support rural producers in the transition to jurisdiction-wide sustainability. In addition, Kevin Rabinovitch, Global Vice President of Sustainability at Mars, Inc. discussed the Consumer Goods Forum work in collaboration with TFA2020 to accelerate jurisdictional approaches, including “speed dating” sessions to bring jurisdictions and heads of their member companies’ procurement together to “turbo-charge” private sector engagement.