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March 30th 2020
The NGO Forest Coalition welcomes today’s publication of the Final Recommendations report from the UK’s Global Resource Initiative (GRI), which we have been actively involved with since the launch of the GRI Taskforce in July 2019.
With this publication coming during the global Covid-19 pandemic, we fully support that the priority focus of governments and those involved in global supply chains is rightly on tackling the crisis. Governments are rightly securing the immediate and emergency needs of their citizens. But as the pandemic evolves, and we can look more into the future, protecting nature is one of the most immediate steps we can take to reduce the risk of future pandemics.
This crisis is exposing the risks inherent in our global economy, including the interconnected nature of our food systems and the complex supply chains through which they operate. It is also becoming increasingly clear that we are radically altering natural ecosystems, which threatens the resilience of food systems, human health, and our economies. When the time comes, it will be crucial to prioritise nature in the economic stimulus and other measures introduced to recover from the far-reaching impacts of this crisis (1).
In any recovery, while Government can provide the enabling environment to catalyse, convene and inspire others to act, the responsibility for delivery is of course a shared one, with roles for business and finance sectors, consumers, civil society, farmers, producers and consumer countries, working in partnership with producer countries. Collective success will depend upon collective action.
One of the top-priority recommendations in this GRI report, which was unanimously supported by business, finance and civil society alike – calls on the UK government to bring in legislation which makes it mandatory for all companies and financiers to conduct due diligence in their supply and investment chains, aiming to ensure a level playing field in which food and agricultural supply chains, (as a starting point), work best for people and planet.
Whatever the next weeks and months bring, it is clear that – right across the world – people are all in this together. We need to work together to understand the connections between new diseases and human activity, and on solutions to the complex and interconnected global crises for people, nature, and climate.
As part of that collective effort, we look forward to working collaboratively with the UK Government, civil society, business and finance, to realize the ambitious recommendations in the GRI report.
You can view and download the report and related materials here: https://partnershipsforforests.com/GRI-final-recommendations-report/
(1) Recent analysis shows that positive changes in the way we farm and feed ourselves can unlock US$4.5 trillion in new business opportunities each year by 2030. At the same time, it can save us US$5.7 trillion a year in damage to people and planet, like those being inflicted upon us now.
We are working together, alongside others including civil society organisations, Governments, and the private sector, to push for strong policies, actions, and funding, which address the problems; and to find sustainable and just solutions.
The United Kingdom has long been a world leader in the fight against the destruction of forests and biodiversity loss, the promotion of
sustainable and legal trade in forest products, and the securing of jobs and tenure for local people to uphold their rights and reduce poverty.
The national and global importance of maintaining this leadership role has never been greater.