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Forests take center stage at Copenhagen
Date:12/17/2009

As the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen approaches its conclusion, negotiations are focusing on the role of forests in mitigating climate change. The new 'Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation' policy has gained widespread support as a central element of any new agreement.

Since deforestation accounts for almost 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions, this new policy would enable developing countries to make a major contribution to emissions reduction. Linked to this, developed countries are signing up to a multi-billion euro financing framework that would make preserving the world's tropical rainforests more economically attractive than uprooting them.

A key role for Africa

During COP15, representatives of local, regional and national governments, businesses, international development agencies and indigenous communities from rainforest nations came together in more than 25 different events to discuss how this new policy can be put into practice.

ne of the highest profile events focused on the Congo Basin, where the 10 member countries of Commission des Forts d'Afrique Centrale (COMIFAC) are working together for conservation and sustainable forest management of almost 30% of the world's tropical forests.

The COMIFAC event was supported by ESA, the German Development Agency, the German Development Bank and other international partners. ESA, through its Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) Forest Monitoring project, is assisting three of the COMIFAC countries (Cameroon, Gabon and the Republic of Congo) to integrate Earth observation data into their national forest management and climate programmes. The project is being led by the German remote sensing company GAF and a consortium of international partners.

During the event, environment ministers from Gabon, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Congo Brazzaville joined with the German Federal Minister for Econom
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Contact: Robert Meisner
robert.meisner@esa.int
39-069-418-0874
European Space Agency
Source:Eurekalert

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