Achieving the Global Goals with Forest Conservation

Forest Conservation in the Yaeda Valley

“A world reconnected with nature – the global community, that’s you, working with local communities, that’s us, to address climate change”. This was my opening statement to the Plan Vivo stakeholder workshop in Stockholm, Sweden last week. This simple phrase was immediately tweeted around the world, emphasising yet again that what we do at Carbon Tanzania is globally relevant, thinking globally but acting locally. This eclectic group of project developers like myself, buyers of forest carbon offsets, resellers, scientists and of course the Plan Vivo team, had gathered to share ideas, look at the problems we face and consider how to better communicate to the world that what we are doing closely aligns with the recently launched Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

These SDGs, launched last week in New York (more commonly known as the Global Goals) really are a ‘to do list’ for the Anthropocene, this man made world in which we now live. A carefully crafted series of 17 goals that we, that’s all of us, want to try and achieve over the next 15 years. Unlike their predecessor, the Millennium Development Goals, these goals are designed to both engage the private sector in making our world a more sustainable place and ensure that it is not just the developing world that has to take action. Climate change is an obvious example here, a real reminder that as a global community we have shared responsibilities that need us all to act together.

The one really exciting element to these goals and central to the name, ‘sustainable development’, is that the global community isn’t going to get anywhere unless addressing deforestation takes centre stage and the private sector take action to measure, reduce and offset the emissions generated by their activities. Of the 17 Goals, avoiding deforestation has its own category, SDG 15, and even if I wrote it myself it couldn’t better describe what we do at Carbon Tanzania. But avoiding deforestation and protecting existing ecosystems also relates to other goals such as SDG 1 (land security and land resource ownership), a clear output for us, SDG 2 (sustainable agriculture and food security), SDG 8 (employment and access to markets) and last but not least SDG 13 (combating climate change). Clear global recognition that it is essential to adopt an integrated “landscape approach” that regards forests as part of broader land-use system can be wholly sustainable and address multiple needs, such as food security and forest conservation.

The SDGs frame what Carbon Tanzania does as a universal goal, not just a goal for the developing world. You could say that the developed world and the private sector have double the responsibility: to pursue domestic action on reducing carbon emissions while also helping promote the sustainable management of the landscape in developing countries, that includes incentives for sustainable land use.

Blog written by Carbon Tanzania’s founder Marc Baker