COP26: Deforestation Break Through
Boris Johnson addresses COP26. Photo by Kiara Worth
In a significant early announcement at COP26 more than 100 world leaders will today pledge to halt, and then reverse, much of the deforestation of our planet. And to achieve this by 2030.
Boris Johnson, following his rather splendid and fully impassioned opening speech, will call Tuesday's deal a "landmark agreement to protect and restore the Earth's forests".
The pledge includes just under £14bn ($19.2bn) of public and private funds.
And, significantly, Brazil - notoriously obtuse about climate change under President Bolsonaro - will be amongst the signatories. Under their 38th president the country has seen huge levels of tree felling throughout the rainforest.
The agreement has been welcomed by experts and environmentalists but many have warned that an earlier 2014 deal had failed.
11 Bosnia and Herzegovina
20 Costa Rica
21 Cote D’Ivoire
24 Dominican Republic
25 Democratic Republic of the Congo
26 European Commission on behalf of the European Union
38 Guinea Bissau
67 New Zealand
70 North Macedonia
74 Papua New Guinea
78 Republic of Congo
81 Saint Lucia
83 San Marino
85 Sierra Leone
88 South Korea
90 Sri Lanka
97 United Arab Emirates
100 United Kingdom
We, the leaders of the countries:
Emphasise the critical and interdependent roles of forests of all types, biodiversity and sustainable land use in enabling the world to meet its sustainable development goals; to help achieve a balance between anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and removal by sinks; to adapt to climate change; and to maintain other ecosystem services.
Reaffirm our respective commitments, collective and individual, to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, the Sustainable Development Goals; and other relevant initiatives.
Reaffirm our respective commitments to sustainable land use, and to the conservation, protection, sustainable management and restoration of forests, and other terrestrial ecosystems.
Recognise that to meet our land use, climate, biodiversity and sustainable development goals, both globally and nationally, will require transformative further action in the interconnected areas of sustainable production and consumption; infrastructure development; trade; finance and investment; and support for smallholders, Indigenous Peoples, and local communities, who depend on forests for their livelihoods and have a key role in their stewardship.
Highlight the areas of strong progress in recent years and the opportunities before us to accelerate action.
We therefore commit to working collectively to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030 while delivering sustainable development and promoting an inclusive rural transformation.
We will strengthen our shared efforts to:
Conserve forests and other terrestrial ecosystems and accelerate their restoration;
Facilitate trade and development policies, internationally and domestically, that promote sustainable development, and sustainable commodity production and consumption, that work to countries’ mutual benefit, and that do not drive deforestation and land degradation;
Reduce vulnerability, build resilience and enhance rural livelihoods, including through empowering communities, the development of profitable, sustainable agriculture, and recognition of the multiple values of forests, while recognising the rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as local communities, in accordance with relevant national legislation and international instruments, as appropriate;
Implement and, if necessary, redesign agricultural policies and programmes to incentivise sustainable agriculture, promote food security, and benefit the environment;
Reaffirm international financial commitments and significantly increase finance and investment from a wide variety of public and private sources, while also improving its effectiveness and accessibility, to enable sustainable agriculture, sustainable forest management, forest conservation and restoration, and support for Indigenous Peoples and local communities;
Facilitate the alignment of financial flows with international goals to reverse forest loss and degradation, while ensuring robust policies and systems are in place to accelerate the transition to an economy that is resilient and advances forest, sustainable land use, biodiversity and climate goals.
We urge all leaders to join forces in a sustainable land use transition. This is essential to meeting the Paris Agreement goals, including reducing vulnerability to the impacts of climate change and holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5°C, noting that the science shows further acceleration of efforts is needed if we are to collectively keep 1.5°C within reach. Together we can succeed in fighting climate change, delivering resilient and inclusive growth, and halting and reversing forest loss and land degradation.
It is perhaps ironic that a pledge to reduce global temperatures involves quite so much hot air, but let's not be ungrateful for this significant step forward.