Human rights activist and ex-wife of Mick Jagger, Bianca Jagger, tells DW how the Bonn Challenge is helping communities vulnerable to climate change.
DW: What's the Bonn Challenge and why it is important?
Bianca Jagger: The Bonn Challenge is one of the most important initiatives we have today. Restoration of forests and the Bonn Challenge aim to include communities, indigenous peoples, and the agricultural and the business sectors.
So far there have been pledges to restore 60 million hectares. We are hoping that we will be able to soon get at least 75 million, which means that we are already halfway there. Countries such as Ethiopia, Guatemala, India and Brazil are also championing restoration because it provides them with security, food and water, and economic advantages. This not only benefits governments and the business community but also the most vulnerable people - communities and indigenous people who should not be forgotten.
What countries say and what they do are often not the same. What are you seeing in the field?
That is one of the reasons why we are having this meeting here in Bonn. It’s about how we will proceed: What will be the implementation of these pledges? Will international organizations be helping these countries to achieve their goals or will these countries want to do that alone? One of the reasons the countries want to do it is that it will benefit them financially.
People are playing an essential role in what will be achieved - they're voicing the needs of their communities. Let's not forget if we reach this goal it will be a real achievement for solving the carbon emissions problem. At least with this we will be achieving something concrete that will benefit people and we can really say that we are tackling climate change.
Where do you think countries can do more?
All of the countries in the developing world that have deforested land - which is causing the effect of catastrophic climate change - could benefit from this. We are at a tipping point. If we do not take concrete actions to tackle climate change, we will see catastrophic climate change. We’ve seen natural disasters more and more around the world and this will be an answer for that. I think that's why we hope more countries will come forward and pledge and see the advantages that they will acquire economically and environmentally in terms of how they deal with catastrophic climate change, namely prevention and benefit for their own people.
Do you think the rich countries are doing enough or do they need to give more support to developing countries?
No, they are not doing enough, but Germany is a positive example. What the government is doing in this country with the proposition to move from fossil fuels to renewable energy by 2050 is a good proposal. I think it needs to happen before 2050 because we are really seeing terrible natural disasters today in 2015. Do we have that much time? No we don't. Forget about 2050, forget about 2040. Even 2030. We need to do what we have to do and to keep the fossil fuels in the ground.
I hope that governments are going to get a lot more serious and come together and make pledges that are reasonable and according to what the science requires when we go to Paris [for the international climate change conference in December].
Are you saying otherwise it will be too late?
What I'm saying is that if governments don't do what is necessary, if we are thinking only about 2050, it may be too late. I'm not saying that it is too late now. Keep in mind that we are at the tipping point and we have to have very concrete proposals, and that's why I think the Bonn Challenge is a great initiative that should be supported, and I'm glad that the German government has taken the initiative from the very beginning in 2011 and that countries are making pledges.
Which countries have made advances?
China has achieved extraordinary restorations. In Brazil, you can see what has been achieved. South Korea as well has had great progress with respect to restoration. Even the United States made a pledge for 15 million hectares for land restoration. When you see the images of degraded land that's been transformed through restoration, it really is a miracle and it's wonderful to see, because it's something that will benefit the most vulnerable people: communities, indigenous peoples, farmers - all of those that suffer from climate change.
Bianca Jagger has been working in the field of human rights for three decades and is the founder and president of the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation. She is the International Union for Conservation of Nature's ambassador to the Bonn Challenge.
The interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.