Dr. Goodall Speaks at Climate Change Conference

On December 7, 2011, Dr. Jane Goodall spoke at a high-level event at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 17) held in Durban, South Africa.  “Advancing Public-Private Partnerships for REDD+ and Green Growth,” sponsored by Avoided Deforestation Partners, highlighted solutions that support economic growth through practices that benefit farmers and strengthen local communities while conserving valuable ecosystems, including forests.  

Dr. Goodall’s Message

At the event, Dr. Goodall spoke about the importance of tropical forests, including their ability to store carbon and thereby slow climate change.  Currently, deforestation and forest degradation account for roughly 18 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.  

During her address, Dr. Goodall described some of the greatest  threats to forests, including the timber and mining industries and the clearing of forests for agricultural land.  In addition, she discussed how local people lacking basic needs are often compelled to rely on forests in unsustainable ways, such as by harvesting trees to sell as charcoal. “There’s no way we can save the chimpanzees or the forests when people are struggling to survive,” said Dr. Goodall.  She described how the Jane Goodall Institute’s work to help local communities improve their health, education, and economic livelihoods is the only way to achieve sustainable protection of forest habitat.

Tribute to Wangari Maathai

Originally scheduled to co-host with Dr. Goodall, the late Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai was honored at the event.  The tribute to Professor Maathai included video addresses from President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and former President Bill Clinton.  

Results of COP17

At the COP17, negotiators agreed on a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol and formally established the Green Climate Fund.  Progress on finance, reference levels and safeguards of REDD+ was also achieved.  While there is still a long road ahead, the Jane Goodall Institute commends the hard work and successes at the COP17.

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