Une ONG qui a vu le jour en 2005 à Port-Gentil, par la volonté de 5 personnes venant d’horizons et de pays différents. Elle s’est engagée dés le début, clairement pour la Défense de la Nature, puis distinctement dans la Protection de l’Environnement et enfin nettement dans une œuvre sociale à long terme au travers de ses actions présentes et à venir.
H2O Gabon est régie par la Charte de la Terre, Costa Rica.
En ce jour de célébration de la première journée internationale
pour les forêts, H₂O Gabon a cosigné cette lettre ouverte pour
la sauvegarde des forêts, adressée aux Nations Unies (UN) et à ses principales
organisations internationales en charge de la question (FAO, CBD, UNFCC et
Pour paraphraser un slogan déjà connu, « La forêt est notre
avenir, économisons la ».
OPEN LETTER TO THE
UN AND ITS INSTITUTIONS AND INITIATIVES RELATED TO FOREST ISSUES
(FAO, CBD, UNFCCC, UNCCD AND UNFF)
21 March – the first ´International Day
An appeal to urgently halt forest
destruction, addressing the underlying causes
UN has launched one more initiative to call attention to the fate of the
world´s forests: 21 March from 2013 onwards will be the International Day of
Forests. But will the Day make any difference to the forests and people who
depend on them, considering that the UN International Year of Forests in 2011
went largely unnoticed?
the UN should lead the measures to halt tropical deforestation, and therefore
it should know and appropriately address the causes of forest loss. The most
important direct causes of deforestation are quite well known, and include
logging, the conversion of forested lands for agriculture and cattle‐raising,
industrial tree plantations, urbanization, mining, oil and gas exploitation,
hydroelectric dams and industrial shrimp farming. The underlying causes that
drive deforestation, however, are multiple, interrelated, less easily visible,
and often little discussed and understood. A thorough process of analyzing
underlying causes of deforestation, undertaken in the late 1990s by the UN with
significant civil society participation, concluded that these drivers of deforestation
are related to land tenure, resource management, trade, international economic relations
in general and social exclusion.
FAO claims that deforestation was lower in the period 2000‐2010, compared with
the previous decade. Still, 13 million hectares of mainly tropical forests,
including mangrove forests, were destroyed each year in this period; and the
actual figure is likely to be even higher because FAO continues to consider
industrial plantations as forests. By defining “forests” as any land with a certain
quantity of trees on it, the FAO distorts the data: the real forest loss
appears lower than it actually is because for the FAO, industrial tree monocultures
are the same as diverse forests that provide home and food for forest dependent
International Day of Forests comes in the wake of renewed international
attention to tropical forests that started with climate negotiators putting the
role of forests in climate change on the agenda of UN climate talks: since
2007, the UN climate summits have been debating REDD – Reducing Emissions from
Deforestation and Forest Degradation. But have the efforts put into REDD+
resulted in reduced deforestation or at least a reversal of the current trend?
Have the many initiatives undertaken since REDD emerged slowed the loss of
forests worldwide? Are mangrove forests (“blue carbon”) less degraded today than
they were in 2007? Are forest peoples’ rights better protected today than they
were in 2007? Have the pledges of Northern governments to contribute US$ 7.7
billion, as well as the renewed attention itself for forests internationally
really been able to slow, and eventually halt the loss of forests?
reports from Brazil and Indonesia, the two countries where most of the forest
was lost during 2000‐2010, indicate that after a short dip in the rate of
deforestation according to FAO statistics, deforestation is going on and many
new forest areas are under threat of large‐scale corporate‐driven activities
that destroy forests.
same actors involved in forest destruction are often at the same time involved
in projects that allegedly aim to protect forests, for example through REDD+
projects. These actors include transnational corporations, Northern but also
Southern governments, financial market institutions including the World Bank,
big conservation NGOs and certification organizations. With the UN at the
forefront, all of these key actors defend the so‐called “green economy”, presented
as a “winwin” approach that tackles both the economic‐financial and
environmental crises, by redirecting investments to unlock so‐called “natural
capital”, as well as new, supposedly clean technologies (such as those based on
biomass) and the “carbon market”, as well as the trade in “environmental services”
in general. In tropical forest countries, this is leading to increasing
conflicts, human rights violations and resistance. The destruction, if anything,
has increased, not decreased, let alone stopped (1).
destruction must be halted – urgently!
letter is an international appeal that forest destruction needs to be urgently
halted – and not just “reduced”. Forests are vital for forest peoples, whose
way of life depends on them. An indigenous leader from Eastern DRC states: “The forest and the
indigenous peoples could bedescribed as
inseparable friends. The life of a pygmy depends 100% on the forest because the
forest is our home ‘par excellence’. I can state that without the forest, there
can be no life for indigenous peoples”
(2). Halting deforestation and the recognition of land rights are of special
importance for indigenous peoples in voluntary isolation. An increase in land grabbing,
much of it in forest areas, and the ongoing destruction of forests,
particularly through the “concession model” of logging, agriculture and mining,
put at risk the continued voluntary isolation because most often the areas where
peoples in voluntary isolation are able to still survive on this planet and
maintain their way of life are the very areas targeted by land grabbers. Halting
forest loss is also crucial to combat social exclusion and to respect the
rights of Nature and its intrinsic value. Furthermore, forests are important
for humanity in general, especially the populations in tropical forest
countries. It is extremely concerning that forests are increasingly affected by
the effects of climate change. The perpetuation of the current unsustainable production
and consumption model is at the root of both, the climate and forest crises.
Initiatives aimed at truly halting deforestation – or avoiding runaway climate
change – will therefore need to address these root causes.
halt deforestation, the underlying causes that drive forest loss need to be
eliminated. Urgent actions needed towards this end include:
Recognition of the rights of forest and forest‐dependent communities over their
communal territories with special attention to the indigenous peoples in voluntary
isolation; these rights must include the right to control decisions affecting
the territories of forest dependent communities.
Define forests by their true meaning for forest‐dependent peoples; exclude
industrial tree monoculture plantations from the definition: Plantations
are not forests.
Expose and halt the destruction caused by transnational corporations (TNCs) and
other actors who lead the land grabbing process; the past decade has shown that
TNCs cannot be regulated: their existence and increasing influence are a main
threat for the future of tropical forests.
Expose and break the pattern of corporate‐driven false solutions like
´sustainable’ large‐scale activities in tropical forests, REDD+, trade in
environmental services, public‐private partnerships, certified “green economy”,
etc.. Instead, propose and defend true solutions which mean defending locally
sustained economies, in terms of the use of for example minerals, biomass and energy.
We reiterate the call of the international Oilwatch network: Leave the oil
in the soil and the coal in thehole!
Support efforts to consume less forest destroying products instead of
initiatives that promote buying the certified products from large‐scale
operations and companies that continue to destroy forests.
all, on this first International Day of Forests we call on the UN and its
forest‐related institutions to heed the lessons of past initiatives aimed at
ending deforestation: Halting forest loss will remain an illusion until action
is undertaken to eliminate the underlying causes that drive deforestation.
For more information on Deforestation see “ A brief overview of deforestation
in tropical forests” at