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  WWF Newsroom 25 May 05
WWF and World Bank join forces to reduce global deforestation

25 May 2005 United Nations headquarters, NY – WWF and the World Bank announced at the fifth meeting of the United Nations Forum on Forests the renewal of a partnership that aims to reduce global deforestation rates by 10 per cent by 2010.

Known as the World Bank/WWF Alliance for Forest Conservation & Sustainable Use, the programme will support the establishment of new forest protected areas such as national parks, more effective management of forest protected areas, and improved management of forests outside of protected areas.

The Alliance also will help to facilitate regional cooperation and the adoption of policies in support of more effective forest management.

“Ecologically and economically valuable forests in places like the boreal forests of Russia’s Far East, the lowland forests of Sumatra, and the rainforests of the Amazon and the Congo are disappearing quickly to forces such as illegal or poorly regulated logging and agricultural clearing,” said Claude Martin, WWF International’s Director General.

“By renewing the Forest Alliance, we are committing the World Bank and WWF to working with a governments and a wide range of forest stakeholders to develop effective solutions to these forest threats.”

According to WWF, the present rate of global deforestation is more than 14 million hectares per year, roughly equal to the size of Greece. Most of the losses occur in the tropics.

In addtion, World Bank studies estimate that US$15 billion in tax revenue is lost annually in developing countries due to illegal logging. “This is money that governments in poor countries could have used for social services and health. These practices need to be stopped,” said Ian Johnson, the World Bank's Vice President for Sustainable Development.

“The World Bank and WWF are committed to work with all involved parties to establish effective and equitable regulation of forest practices.”

Since the Forest Alliance was first created in 1998 it has contributed to the establishment of 50 million hectares of new protected areas, improved management for 70 million hectares of protected areas, and responsible management of some 22 million hectares of commercially harvested forests.

The Forest Alliance has also played a pivotal role in facilitating regional initiatives in the developing world and has been actively working with the private sector to promote responsible forest practices.

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