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RELEASE: A call for global accountability on the International Day of Forests

More than 130 environmental groups from 39 countries call for decisive action to stop forest degradation and deforestation

A photo of a mature forest in Vermont's Green Mountain National Forest
Mature forest in the Telephone Gap project area in Vermont's Green Mountain National Forest.

Happy International Day of Forests! Today, Standing Trees, our partners at NRDC, and 130 other groups are joining a call for global accountability for addressing degradation and deforestation, just like the destructive mature forest logging taking place across the Green Mountain National Forest and White Mountain National Forest. Please read the full letter below, and then submit a comment today on the Telephone Gap logging project to hold public land managers accountable! You can learn more about the Telephone Gap logging project here:

For Immediate Release

Thursday, March 21, 2024


Zack Porter, Standing Trees, (802) 552-0160,

This year’s International Day of Forests comes at a critical inflection point, as global leaders hover between unprecedented ambition and devastating complacency. While recent commitments make progress toward global forest protection more feasible than ever before, industrial pressures on forests continue to deforest and degrade the high-ecosystem integrity forests critical in securing a safe and sustainable future.

The UN has designated the theme this year as “Forests and Innovation,” celebrating the intersection between forests and technology in addressing the climate and biodiversity crises. We, however, are calling for a focus on something even more foundational to driving positive change: accountability.

Countries have made groundbreaking commitments under the climate and biodiversity conventions that can not only drive forest protection, but spur solutions and new sustainable economies.

For decades, however, the international community has failed to follow through on its commitments. Governments, particularly in the Global North, have signed international agreements on forests with one hand while weakening them with the other, creating an inequitable and inconsistent system inhospitable to progress. In fact, while some governments have already made strides toward delivering on this ambition, others are pursuing workarounds, loopholes, and policies that actively undermine their commitments, bolstered by industries that claim to want progress but instead cling to the status quo. With only a handful of years left to avoid catastrophic climate change and biodiversity collapse, there is no more time for failed promises from governments and lip service from the marketplace.

Innovation in an accountability vacuum is not only prone to failure, but dangerous.

Instead, we call for accountability. Accountability, not just in the tropics but also in the Global North, to halting and reversing deforestation and forest degradation by 2030. Accountability to principles of equity rather than protectionist impulses. Accountability to scientific integrity and to the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities. Accountability to present and future generations over short-term interests and industries that claim to embody innovation but instead hold back the development of sustainable economies.

Six years from now, International Day of Forests must be a celebration of what international unity was able to accomplish. That can happen only under a shared, equitable sense of responsibility and a commitment to truly global progress. With accountability, innovation will follow.

For the full list of 130 signers, please view the statement here:


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