International efforts to achieve zero net deforestation are lagging well behind a target, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
Of the 14 nations included in a new study, by WWF and think tank Climate Advisers, only Indonesia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru have set targets to succeed by 2020, the target advocated by WWF.
Papua New Guinea and The Democratic Republic of the Congo have targeted zero net deforestation by 2030.
WWF said that achieving zero net deforestation by 2020 in these 14 countries could save three gigatonnes in annual carbon dioxide emissions by 2020, more than the annual emissions of Germany and India combined.
However, up to 95 per cent of these reductions could be conditional on international finance from wealthier governments or the private sector, the report warns.
The report assesses pledges made by the 14 countries - Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Burma, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mozambique, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru and Tanzania - in which over half of projected tropical forest loss is expected to take place.
WWF-UK’s chief adviser on forests, Will Ashley-Cantello, said: “The New York Declaration on Forests gave hope to a zero deforestation future. But it remains a voluntary agreement signed by only 36 countries. There is no pretending that ending deforestation will be easy. But that is all the more reason for big commitments and big incentives from governments and business alike.
“Few forest nations have set clear targets on forest loss or emissions, and fewer still aim for zero. And the financial support on the table is paltry, roughly equating to a mere $0.22 per tonne of CO2 emissions that would be saved under the declaration. People pay more for a litre of petrol.”