Photo: Hendrik De Bruyne

POZNAN, POLAND — Over the weekend here at the COP-14, Duncan Marsh, director of international climate policy for the Conservancy, led a panel on why reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) is a critical part of the climate change solution.

Among the speakers were Ambassador Hans Brattskar of Norway, Benjamin Karmorh from Liberia’s Environmental Protection Agency, Nur Masriputin of Indonesia’s Ministry of Forestry and Natalia Calderon of Fundacion Amigos de la  Naturaleza (FAN), the Conservancy’s partner in the Noel Kempff Climate Action Project in Boliviathe world’s first forest carbon project to have its carbon emission reductions verified by a third party.

All the speakers talked about how deforestation and degradation — which produces about 20 percent of the world’s annual carbon emissions — must be stopped if we are to win the battle against climate change.

But perhaps the most moving member of the panel was Gilberto Arias of the Kuna Yaba indigenous community of Panama.

Arias — who had a translator with him as he spoke in his indigenous language — described the need to protect the world’s “tree spirit,” not just to stop climate change, but also to ensure the forest resources local communities rely upon for survival remain healthy and productive for future generations.

It’s only been a few hours since I arrived in Poznan, but I’ve already been overwhelmed by the passion demonstrated by people from all walks of life and from all over the world to come together in search of a common solution to climate change. I can’t wait to see what happens next week!

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