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Progress on the NYDF – An Assessment Framework and Initial Report

Type of Publication: Progress Report

Date of Publication: November 2015

Organizations: Climate Focus

In September 2014, a broad coalition of governments, corporations, indigenous peoples’ organizations, and nongovernmental organizations signed the New York Declaration on Forests (NYDF), thereby endorsing its 10 goals. Achieving NYDF goals could reduce the global emissions of greenhouse gases by 4.5 – 8.8 billion metric tons every year.1 Goal 1 is to halt natural forest loss by 2030, with a 2020 milestone of a 50% reduction. Most other goals are subsidiary to Goal 1, including halting deforestation from agricultural supply chains (Goal 2), reducing deforestation from other economic sectors (Goal 3), and supporting alternatives to deforestation driven by poverty and basic needs (Goal 4). One goal is aimed at restoring 150 million hectares of degraded land by 2020 and an additional 200 million hectares by 2030 (Goal 5).

Another set of goals aims at improving the enabling environment to help signatories and other entities meet the deforestation goals. These goals include establishing a strong international framework (Goals 6 and 7), better financing (Goals 8 and 9), and improved forest governance with more secure forest and land rights for local communities and indigenous peoples (Goal 10). The NYDF is supported by an action agenda, but lacks a process or methodology that would allow monitoring progress toward achieving its goals.

“Progress on the New York Declaration on Forests: An Assessment Framework and Initial Report” seeks to fill that gap by proposing a framework of indicators that could provide an initial assessment and monitor progress over time. This report is supported by a website ( with supplementary material, including a detailed assessment of the status of each goal. The creation of this framework is intended to support the monitoring of progress toward meeting the NYDF goals.

For an initial assessment, we propose a number of imperfect indicators and proxies that allow the measurement of progress toward the goals. We anticipate that indicators will improve over time as data gaps and shortcomings of existing datasets are filled. One year after the adoption of the NYDF is too early to draw conclusions about progress in most areas. But in the past year, new initiatives have been launched, additional commitments have been made, and implementation of relevant programs has begun (see Box 1). These are important steps in the right direction and may help accelerate trends toward achieving the NYDF goals. Still, overall progress remains slow and more action is urgently needed.

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