Leaders of more than 100 countries pledged late Monday to stop and reverse deforestation and land degradation by the end of the decade, according to the COP26 chair, the United Kingdom.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forest and Land Use is an “unprecedented agreement.”
What do we know about the agreement?
Brazil, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which collectively account for 85% of the world’s forests, are among those backing the joint statement to be released at the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow.
The pledge is backed by almost $20 billion (over €17 billion) in public and private funding, the UK government said.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office made the announcement on behalf of the leaders
Britain and 11 other countries have pledged 8.75 billion pounds ($12 billion, over €10 billion) of public funding between 2021 and 2025 to help developing countries restore degraded land and tackle wildfires.
More than 30 private sector investors also pledged to stop investing in activities linked to deforestation by 2025.
The agreement includes promises to secure the rights of Indigenous peoples and recognize “their role as forest guardians.” Five countries, including Britain and the US, as well as a group of global charities, pledged $1.7 billion (€1.47 billion) to support Indigenous people’s conservation of forests.
‘Another decade of deforestation’
A 2014 UN climate meeting in New York had issued a similar declaration to halve the rate of deforestation by 2020, and end it by 2030.
Greenpeace criticized the Glasgow initiative for giving the green light to “another decade of deforestation.”
Yet trees continue to be cut down on an industrial scale. The far-right government of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has particularly come under fire over the deforestation of the Amazon.
“Indigenous peoples are calling for 80% of the Amazon to be protected by 2025, and they’re right, that’s what’s needed,” said Greenpeace Brazil executive director Carolina Pasquali.
“The climate and the natural world can’t afford this deal,” she said.