By Ellen Wilson, December 18, 2015

For the first time in history, a climate agreement, signed in Paris, commits nearly every country in the world to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The ‘carbon sinks’ provided by standing forests are critical for nations to meet their climate commitments. And forest loss, which contributes about 11 percent of global emissions, was a central focus of the discussions in Paris.

On the first day of the climate talks, heads of government from Colombia, Norway, Gabon and Indonesia took a public stand on behalf of forests and released a vision statement signed by some 17 heads of governments. Germany, the United Kingdom and Norway committed to increase their annual support for a program aimed at protecting and restoring forests, known as REDD+, with an aim to provide over $5 billion from 2015-2020, including a significant increase in ‘pay-for-performance’ finance that funds countries that demonstrate measured, reported and verified emission reductions through forest protection.

On the second day of the talks, the Prince of Wales took center stage, speaking about forests as part of the Lima Paris Action Agenda, asserting that “there is no plan B for climate change without forests.” He also stated that all efforts around forests should be guided by the Indigenous People whose lives are “intimately intertwined with the forests.” He continued by saying that the approaches should recognize and protect their rights and draw on their wisdom and perspectives.

One of the major outcomes of the Paris talks was inclusion of forests in the final agreement.

Photographers and broadcasters from around the world, including France 24, Associated Press, Agence France Presse and RTL (Germany), turned out in full force to the heads of government event. Dozens of reporters also attended the LPAA event. The result was more than 80 stories in multiple languages, including Spanish, Norwegian, Indonesian and Portuguese.

One of the major outcomes of the Paris talks was inclusion of forests in the final agreement.

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