On April 23, 2014, CGD president Nancy Birdsall spoke at the 2014 Global Philanthropy Forum in Silicon Valley during a session titled “Ensure Sustainability: Preserving the Earth’s Biodiversity & Physiology.” She shared how former CGD senior fellow and environmental economist David Wheeler helped to make data about deforestation trends in tropical forest countries available with the creation of Forest Monitoring for Action (FORMA).
Birdsall highlighted how data and research, citizen activism, and governments and global institutions are part of one ecosystem. With respect to forests that means bringing together people and institutions concerned with the devastating effects of deforestation and climate change on the world’s poorest people. She called for changes in public policy at the global, country and local levels to tackle the problems that climate change will continue to cause. Specifically, she highlighted the need to create incentives, such as performance-based approaches, to encourage governments to resist commercial pressures (e.g., palm oil manufacturing) and to help conserve forests.