FRIENDS OF THE EARTH – PRESS RELEASE
The continuing failure to prevent catastrophic deforestation is hampering global efforts to reverse the loss of biodiversity and has become a major threat to forest-dependent people,warned Friends of the Earth International on ‘International Biodiversity Day’, 22 May.
The warning was made during a May 19-30 United Nations meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The Bonn gathering, attended by delegates from 191 countries, aims to find ways to meet a globally agreed target for reversing the loss of biodiversity.
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“The destruction of forests and the consequent erosion of biodiversity severely impact millions of forest-dependent people. But it also affects global food security and accelerates climate change,” according to Belmond Tchoumba, co-coordinator of the Forest and Biodiversity Programme of Friends of the Earth International.
“Governments must let local communities and Indigenous Peoples who depend on forests manage their forests, rather than evicting them and selling off the forests,“ added the Cameroonian activist.
According to Friends of the Earth International the Bonn conference participants should take immediate action to stop the deforestation of prime forests, to stop the destructive illegal logging and to stop the trade of illegally derived forest products.
They should also oppose false solutions such as damaging monoculture tree plantations and genetically engineered (GE) trees. GE trees are as damaging as other monocultures, but they also pose a specific threat to the genetic diversity of trees.
“Genetically engineered trees know no borders: once planted, they contaminate large areas,” according to Hubert Weiger, President of BUND/Friends of the Earth Germany.
“Planting GE trees flies in the face of the precautionary approach of the Convention on Biological Diversity. GE trees should be strongly and urgently opposed by this UN Convention and by all national governments,” he added.
“Forest-dependent local communities and Indigenous Peoples around the world know how to conserve and restore forests. Their community-based activities are successfully geared towards sustainable forest use,” said Isaac Rojas, co-coordinator of the Forest and Biodiversity Programme of Friends of the Earth International.
“Community forest management not only ensures the conservation of biological diversity, it also ensures sustainable livelihoods for forest-dependent people,” added the Costa Rican activist.