Joint Statement from the United States and Norway on Deeper Collaboration on Forests and Climate Change

Recognizing the critical importance of forests and land use in mitigating the impacts of climate change, and adapting to those impacts that may be unavoidable, the Kingdom of Norway and the United States of America hereby resolve to deepen their collaboration on global issues related to forests and climate change. On the occasion of the U.S.-Nordic summit in Washington, D.C., on May 13, 2016, the United States and Norway announced their intention to enhance existing collaboration on forests and climate change. We reaffirm our commitments made in the Leaders’ Statement on Forests and Climate Change, the New York Declaration on Forests and the Sustainable Development Goals. Through the December 2015 Paris Agreement we, alongside more than 190 other States, set collective goals, including to; i) hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and ii) pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, as well as iii) achieve a global balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century. These goals cannot be achieved without forests. The science is clear: Conserving, restoring and sustainably managing the world's natural forests is critical to achieving a safe, secure, and sustainable world. Limiting global warming is critical to safeguarding development achievements and securing a sustainable future. The Paris Agreement represents an important recognition of the need to conserve and enhance forests and other ecosystems. Forests and land use currently represent nearly one-quarter of global emissions, but forests alone may contribute up to one-third of the pre-2030 mitigation. Conserving and restoring tropical forests will also be important to achieve climate neutrality in the second half of this century. Conserving, restoring, and sustainably managing forests is also fundamental to a wide range of other sustainability objectives including food security, climate resilience, biodiversity, and maintaining freshwater resources. Norway and the United States envision a world where economic growth and food security benefit from, and support, efforts to conserve and restore natural forests and reduce land-based emissions. Strategies for conserving and restoring forests on a global scale must simultaneously ensure increased agricultural productivity to produce food, feed, fuel, and fiber for a growing and increasingly affluent global population. Our two countries are committed to achieving robust and lasting results in conserving and restoring forests. We share similar approaches to this global challenge: - We are committed to partnering with tropical forest countries demonstrating leadership on this issue, with ambitious mitigation contributions and pursuit of low emission, climate resilient development pathways, in line with their Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement. - We favor large landscape-level approaches that aim to achieve forest conservation and restoration as well as economic growth, food security, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and biodiversity conservation in a holistic, integrated manner. - We believe a variety of tools is needed to support these efforts, including payments for verified emissions reductions. - We hold that success depends on mobilizing private investments, improving governance, increasing transparency, and enforcing the rule of law and the rights of indigenous peoples and forest dependent communities. - We support private sector efforts to eliminate tropical deforestation from supply chains for commodities such as beef, palm oil, pulp and paper, and soy. - We recognize the importance of managing land well, and that markets for legally harvested wood products can build incentives for improved forest management and reduce threats of land conversion. - We recognize the contribution of farmers, foresters, civil society, indigenous peoples and local communities in good forest governance and sustainable development; we also recognize the need to take gender considerations into account. Both Norway and the United States note their intention to continuing their efforts to reduce emissions and enhance sinks on their lands, promoting overall climate benefits, consistent with their Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement. Norway and the United States strive to mobilize support through various channels for ambitious action by developing countries. We endeavor to help partners attract additional support for their efforts, including from the private sector. Together, our efforts aim to help securing the multiple benefits forests provide for local communities, and for humanity as a whole. More specifically, Norway and the United States resolve to continue and enhance our existing cooperation on REDD+ and sustainable landscapes to: - Support partner countries and other stakeholders in developing GHG inventory, forest monitoring and MRV systems. This may include enhancing our existing collaboration on the global SilvaCarbon and Global Forest Observation Initiative (GFOI) programs, sharing greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory compilation and management tools, as well as working on public-private partnerships like Global Forest Watch, and collaborating on activities in partner countries. We also plan to explore the role the technology industry may play in reducing data gaps and reducing uncertainties for forest monitoring. This can increase transparency, increase integrity of emission reductions, and aid efforts to combat illegality. - Facilitate linkages of jurisdictional forest and climate programs with private sector commitments to reduce tropical deforestation in supply chains. Work with partners to promote deforestation-free commodity supply chains, building on the efforts of partner countries that are successfully implementing programs for reduced deforestation at a jurisdictional level. - Clarify and strengthen the business case for sustainable investment. This may include working with Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 as well as other partners to develop investment-ready projects and connect them to potential funders. - Enhance the use of our development finance and assistance to mobilize private sector investment for forests and sustainable land use. This may include the use of public finance to derisk or catalyze private sector finance. It could also include technical assistance and capacity building for partner countries seeking to attract private sector investment. - Support states at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)'s 2016 Assembly to adopt a Global Market Based Measure to help to enable carbon neutral growth in international aviation from 2020. Such a measure for aviation could catalyze incentives for reduced deforestation through demand for large-scale forest emissions reductions, provided activities meet ICAO’s emissions unit program criteria and reflect relevant developments in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. - Affirm our support for the new Capacity Building Initiative for Transparency. CBIT is designed to enhance institutional and technical capacity to build trust and confidence through transparency, and to meet international requirements for sound, consistent and comprehensive reporting, including on mitigation in the land sector. - Strengthen our respective efforts to fight illegal logging and associated trade. This is intended to include our work and international cooperation on transparency, support for enforcement capacity, and the implementation of efforts like the Lacey Act prohibition on trade in illegally harvested timber and wood products. - Provide technical tools and information to pension funds, finance agencies, and other investors seeking to reduce their impact on deforestation and forest emissions, and support responsible forest management. This can help partners identify best practices and address one key gap hindering the shift of broader financial flows in a direction that supports better land use. - Hold a bilateral expert-level meeting on forests once per year to promote close coordination on these activities.
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