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Biofuture Platform response to open letter from Global Forest Coalition and other NGOs

February, 28th, 2019

In response to the open letter entitled “the industrialization of the Bioeconomy poses risk to the climate, the environment, and the people”, undersigned by the Global Forest Coalition, the Indigenous Environmental Network, Soroptimist International, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and affiliate regional and national civil society organizations and NGOs, the Biofuture Platform reaffirms the unwavering commitment to its mandate to promote and exchange lessons, knowledge and analysis on sustainable, environmentally friendly, and resource efficient solutions to scale up the low carbon bioeconomy.

The Biofuture Platform appreciates the concerns of the civil society groups that are signatories to the letter and shares their commitment to sustainability, human rights, biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation. Its goal is to promote a bioeconomy based on socially and environmentally sound practices resulting in real GHG emissions reductions, including the use of high-efficiency, drought-tolerant crops, combined food-and-energy agricultural systems and practices, use of waste and residues, and efficient circular systems.

The Biofuture Platform seeks to build its actions on scientific evidence and expert advice. Over the course of decades, scientists and experts have accumulated significant material evidence on bioeconomy practice, reflected in the most up-to-date advice from technical organizations and initiatives such as the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Renewable Energy Agency, the International Energy Agency, the IEA Technological Collaboration Programme on Bioenergy, and many others. According to that evidence, the scaling up of biomass for energy and bio-based products, when properly managed with the right combination of agricultural practices, technologies, policies, and systems, can provide significant net benefits to climate change mitigation, social and economic development, energy security, energy access, rural development, and the environment, while minimizing negative social and environmental impacts such as landgrabbing and loss of biodiversity (see selected references).

With due vigilance to recognize and address risks, correct mistakes and mitigate negative impacts, the low carbon bioeconomy can be a key contributor to the fulfillment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Broad rejections as those voiced in the above-referred letter, which do not take into account recent evidence and the work of the Biofuture Platform to exchange lessons and best practices on the best ways to scale up the bioeconomy, are in fact undermining efforts to overcome the grave challenges facing the globe and build the sustainable future we all want.
The Biofuture Platform, as a country-led, multistakeholder effort, welcomes the opportunity of further engagement based on constructive, evidence-based dialogue.

Selected reference links:

Bioenergy and Sustainability: SCOPE Policy Brief (154 scientific contributors from 31 countries)

Latin America and Africa: sustainable bioenergy – SCOPE Policy Brief

IEA Bioenergy Technology Collaboration Programme: Is woody biomass energy positive for the climate?

IEA Bioenergy Technology Collaboration Programme: Is there enough room for bioenergy in agriculture?

IRENA: Sustainable paths for Boosting Biofuels

Bioenergy and Sustainable Development (Joint Brief from FAO, IRENA and IEA Bioenergy TCP)

IEA Technology Roadmap – Delivering Sustainable Bioenergy