Australian Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt, speaks at the high-level closing plenary session from the second day of the Global Landscapes Forum 2015, in Paris, France alongside COP21.
The closing ceremony takes a closer look at some of the initiatives that emerged through the Forum and offers a space for tracking progress as well as outlining next steps.
Greg Hunt calls for participants to support two initiatives in support of our forests, the Asia-Pacific Rainforest Recovery Plan and the Global Blue Carbon Partnership.
Sunday, 6 December 2015
Global Landscapes Forum, Paris, France
I have to confess that when Salina asked all those under 30 to stand, I didn’t stand. And Achim, it’s precisely because of that, because so many people in this room did stand, that when you made your comment about the audience being better qualified than the panelists, I couldn’t agree more.
And the reason why is simple: because Olivia and Salina and all of those young people under 30 years of age, this is your forum. More than that, the magnificent wetlands of Kakadu are your common heritage. The extraordinary reefs of Belize are your common heritage. And the most significant asset in the world – the rainforests of the Amazon – are your common asset. All in their own way, though, are under challenge.
But, there is a battle, in a sense, between three great colors: between brown (being the color of emissions from industrial activity that go up), of green (being the color of the landscapes which bring emissions down) and blue (being the color of the oceans and the blue carbon which offers so much potential, both for reducing emissions and enhancing the great biodiversity of the oceans).
The good news is that in the last few weeks we have seen success in reducing the brown emissions. In Dubai, the Montreal Protocol decision was to save 90 billion tons of emissions between now and 2050. Only two nights ago, at Le Bourget, the Conference of the Parties passed the 2020 Kyoto Protocol 2 decision, which will see a huge volume of further emissions saved.
And I believe – and I really believe – that by Friday of this week, maybe Saturday, maybe Sunday, there will be a Paris agreement at COP21. But that’s our task. Your task is ongoing. And that is in terms of colors. And so as we go forward, there are two great initiatives which come from this Global Landscapes Forum.
In terms of the green, there is a Global Rainforest Recovery Initiative, aiming to bring together the nations of the world, the organizations of the world, and the companies of the world to protect and regenerate the great rainforests. And you must be the custodians of that going forward. And there is also a global Blue Carbon Partnership to protect our mangroves, to protect our sea grass, to protect our salt marshes, and to provide habitat for our fish and our sea life, to breed and to evolve. And you are the custodians of those great initiatives going forward.
This week I believe we will succeed. This is our week. But, going forward, the green and the blue are your heritage. You will not fail us, of that I am sure. But by Friday night I believe, I hope, and I expect that we will not fail you.
Thank you for your faith.