Today, during the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28), Executive Vice President of the European Commission Maroš Šefčovič and representative of the President of Honduras, Xiomara Castro, signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a Forest Partnership with Honduras a contribution to the external dimension of the EU Green Deal and supported by the EU’s Global Gateway strategy. It will contribute to Honduras’s objective to restore 1.3 million hectares of forest and implement its National Biodiversity Action Plan.
Executive Vice President Maroš Šefčovič, who signed on behalf of the EU said: “It is an honour to launch the Forest partnership with Honduras and strengthen our joint commitment to sustainable development. Healthy forest ecosystems are key to fighting climate change, preserving and restoring biodiversity, and bringing prosperity for communities that depend on forests for their livelihoods. The Forest partnership will help to ensure that forests can continue delivering on all these vital functions.”
European Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, said: “One year ago, the first five forest partnerships were signed, reinforcing our united fight against climate change, and promoting the protection of forests around the world. Today we are happily welcoming the Forest Partnership with Honduras and, in line with the outcome of the EU-CELAC Summit in July, we are committing to working together to preserve forests, conserve biodiversity and ensure a safe, sustainable environment for all.”
In the next six month, the EU and the Republic of Honduras will develop a comprehensive Roadmap for the implementation of the Forest Partnership. The partners will explore how innovative finance instruments can support the partnership, in line with the Call to Action of the Paris Summit in June 2023.
The partnership will support the implementation of Honduras’ National Determined Contributions, focusing on restoring 1.3 million hectares of forest, as well as the implementation of its National Biodiversity Action Plan. It will address various topics such as increasing the area of protected, restored and sustainably managed forests, and reducing the annual rate of deforestation and forest degradation.
Furthermore, it will create opportunities to increase the number of forest-related decent jobs, and explore ways to facilitate the trade of legal, deforestation-free, and sustainable forest products between Honduras and the EU, building on the existing Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) on Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT).
Forest Partnerships are the EU’s new holistic cooperation frameworks for joint work on forests, supported by the Global Gateway strategy. These partnerships aim to enhance the socio-economic role of forests and their ongoing contribution to climate and biodiversity protection.
At COP26 in Glasgow, President von der Leyen announced a €1 billion contribution from the European Union to the Global Forests Finance Pledge and Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen unveiled the concept of Forest Partnerships. At COP27 in Sharm al Sheik, European Commission President von der Leyen signed the first five Memoranda of Understanding for a Forest Partnership with Guyana, Mongolia, the Republic of Congo, Uganda and Zambia. One year on, is gaining traction as demonstrated by the new interest of partner countries such as the Republic of Honduras.
The EU's cooperation with Honduras on forest restoration and conservation has been long lasting, with initiatives such as the Voluntary Partnership Agreement on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (VPA-FLEGT), a timber trade agreement ratified in 2022 tackling illegal logging and associated trade. It is the first-ever VPA to feature a broad and inclusive consultation process involving all stakeholders, including indigenous and afro-descendant peoples as a distinct group alongside government, civil society, and the private sector.
The EU is also contributing €25.5 million as part of a Team Europe Initiative on the Five Great Forests of Mesoamerica, which includes Honduras.
Overall, the EU has committed to doubling its spending to €7 billion for global biodiversity between 2021 and 2027, a large share of which will focus on forest conservation.
For more information
- Publication date
- 2 December 2023
- Directorate-General for International Partnerships