REDD+ Talks: Preserve the Forest's Blessings for Posterity

26 September 2013

On September 18, one of the gems of the world’s zoos played host to a gathering of investors, company CEOs, NGO leaders, government officials and representatives of indigenous communities. The setting was the Bronx Zoo and the occasion was REDD+ Talks: NYC, a daylong program to highlight engagement on the part of the attendant stakeholders and their organizations in promoting REDD+ projects around the world, including the in the Brazilian Amazon, Indonesia and the iconic Mount Kilimanjaro region of Kenya.

As I rode the subway up to the Zoo for the event’s afternoon panel, I remembered reading about the tragic failure of Ecuador’s plan to save the Yasuni National Park in the Amazon from oil exploration. The Yasuni – which harbors 100,000 species, some unique to the region – has been designated a world biosphere reserve by UNESCO. Ecuador’s initiative had hoped to raise half the $7.5 billion estimated value of the oil reserves in the forest from wealthy countries by 2023, but the effort sputtered to a halt in mid-August when only a fraction of the $300 million so far pledged came in.

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