A gathering in Da Lat to discuss forests and climate change (2011)

The third stage of my trip to Vietnam in 2011 involved flying from Hanoi to the city of Da Lat in the southern highlands, where I joined a series of meetings of the steering committees of two global initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions caused by deforestation and degradation of forests (REDD+). A large number of delegates were assembled, representing tropical forest countries in the “south”, donor agencies and various specialised units of the World Bank, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). I subsequently worked as an adviser for the joint UN “REDD” Programme, based in Geneva from 2014 to 2016. But in Da Lat I was simply a participant in the meetings, which included an excursion to the forests of the region to learn how the communities – ethnic minorities – managed to balance their interests in expanding coffee cultivation with forest conservation.

After 3 days of talking, 150 participants head for the hills to see forests (6 bus loads…)


A video-recorded interview with one of the Indonesian forestry service reps.


Intercultural exchanges between foresters from Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas


A farm house in Bao Thuan with coffee bushes planted right up close to the building


Ceremony welcoming the delegates to Bao Thuan – note the carbon dioxide in the trees! 


Men in traditional garb, not looking very happy or perhaps just a bit chilly…


Dancing and beating the drums around a symbolic tree


My caravan has passed a lot of other forests and parked outside numerous meeting halls and hotels since I began to get involved in the global REDD+ agenda. From the end of 2007 when parties to the UN Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) agreed to include forests in the effort to reduce emissions, to the breakthrough agreement at the 21st conference of the parties in Paris in December 2015, I was active in developing the REDD+ mechanism. The conservation of nature, better forest management and reduced emissions are vital components of development strategies to “green” our planet (again…).

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