In May 2007, GCP launched the Forests NOW campaign, which sought to deepen understanding amongst Governments, parties to the UN Conventions on Climate Change and Biological Diversity, financial investors and the media concerning the roles played by living carbon in sustaining life, atmosphere and people.
The principle aim of the Forests NOW campaign was to put forests first in the fight against climate change. Forests are being treated without urgency and are often missed altogether in the political and public debates on climate change - despite deforestation causing up to one quarter of global carbon emissions.
In 2007, hundreds of people from across the world - including Heads of State, forest peoples, eminent scientists and economists, businesses and NGOs - joined in calling for urgent action to protect tropical forests by signing the Forest Now Declaration. By October 2008, 870 people had signed the declaration.
It was set on its way in the rainforest canopy of the Brazilian Amazon in September that year by leaders from the Government, Indigenous Peoples, NGO and scientific communities. From there it went across the world's tropical forests and carbon capitals, receiving endorsements along the way, and was presented at the UNFCCC climate meeting (COP 13) in Bali in December 2007.
The Declaration called for a series of carbon policies and market reforms to incentivise the protection of tropical forests and safeguard the vital services they provide, including the capture and storage of carbon dioxide. Forests continue to fall because they are worth more dead than alive, and the Declaration urgently called on governments to reverse this situation. The declaration highlighted the importance of these forests not only for the climate, but also for the people that depend directly on them for their livelihoods, for the immeasurable biodiversity they support, and for the whole of humanity.
The Declaration and this website are the result of collaborations between many endorsers. The Global Canopy Programme, an alliance of 37 scientific institutions in 19 countries, has played a coordinating role.