The Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF Task Force) was launched in 2008 as a collaboration between California’s then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and a handful of governors from the United States, Brazil, and Indonesia. The coalition now has 43 member states and provinces in 11 countries—Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Spain, and the United States. This network covers one-third of the world’s tropical forests, including all of the Brazilian Amazon.
The GCF Task Force’s mission is to protect tropical forests, reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and spur large-scale action on this crisis. Members of the GCF Task Force recognize that the key challenges facing efforts to protect forests and reduce greenhouse gas emissions at scale are political and legal fragmentation across multiple levels of governance, limited incentives and support for political leaders and civil servants to focus on sustainable forest and land use, and lack of institutional capacity. In the face of these challenges, bottom-up approaches to protecting forests and reducing greenhouse gas emissions continue to offer important complements to more traditional top-down approaches.
By working to build lasting relationships between governors and civil servants all around the world, the GCF Task Force shares best practices for how governments can pursue sustainable economic policies and forge lasting partnerships with Indigenous Peoples and local communities, the private sector, and civil society. The group convenes international meetings, technical exchanges, and training workshops throughout the year, and supports member jurisdictions and communities within these jurisdictions to seek investment and support in the implementation of their climate and forest protection strategies.
The GCF Task Force is sponsored by UCLA’s Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and the UCLA Institute of Environment and Sustainability, in partnership with the University of Colorado Boulder. The task force is led by William Boyd, Faculty Co-Director of the UCLA Emmett Institute and Michael J. Klein Chair in Law. The Project Director is Jason Gray, former chief of California’s cap-and-trade program.