The Forest Investment Program (FIP) will meet for the first time on October 29 in Washington to kickstart the program and discuss the criteria for selecting countries or regions of the world that could benefit most from the effort.

Brazil, the Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Morocco, Nepal, and Romania will join donor nations Australia, Denmark, Norway, Britain and the United States, who have jointly pledged some $US350 million ($A378.34 million) dollars to fund the project.

The FIP is among the first of a new generation of partnerships between developing and developed countries working to combat the threat of climate change through forest management, the World Bank said.

‘This new program will provide much-needed upfront investment to developing countries and forest-dependent communities to help them prepare for and benefit from financial flows for the sustainable management of forests,’ said Eduardo Saboia, who represented Brazil in earlier meetings aimed at designing the FIP.

Global deforestation, which is advancing at a rate of five per cent per decade, is responsible for 20 per cent of all the annual carbon dioxide emissions.

The 20 per cent figure is roughly equivalent to the total annual emissions of either the United States or China, and surpasses the total yearly emissions from every car, truck, plane, ship and train on Earth, according to estimates provided by the United Nations.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva vowed on October 13 to engage with other leaders at the upcoming major climate summit in Copenhagen in the hope of reducing deforestation of the Amazon by 80 per cent by 2020.

The Amazon, the planet’s largest rainforest, loses 12,000 sq km each year to deforestation.

Douglas Alexander, British Secretary of State for International Development, said on Tuesday in a statement released by the World Bank that deforestation ‘is a global tragedy, destroying the homes and livelihoods of some of the world’s poorest people’.

‘Rampant, large-scale deforestation also produces more carbon emissions than all the world’s planes, ships and cars combined,’ he noted, urging ‘decisive action’ to counter the crisis.

© 2009 AFP

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