World leaders from over 100 countries have promised to end and reverse deforestation by 2030 in a landmark agreement. The deal is officially set to be announced by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Nov. 2 at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland.
The package includes £5.3bn of new private finance and £8.75bn of public funding for restoring degraded land, supporting indigenous communities, protecting forests and mitigating wildfire damage.
A pledge from CEOs to eliminate activities linked to deforestation, and £1.5bn funding from the UK government for forests, are also part of the deal. £350m of that will go to Indonesia and £200m to the Congo basin, with a new £1.1bn fund for the west African rainforest.
Trees are one of our major defences in a warming world. They suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, acting as so-called carbon sinks. They absorb around one-third of global CO2 emitted each year.
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, 4.7 million hectares of forest was lost between 2010-2020.
Countries spanning from the northern forests of Canada and Russia to the tropical rainforests of Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo will endorse the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forest and Land Use. Together, they contain 85 percent of the world’s forests, an area of over 13 million square miles.
Experts welcomed the move, but warned a previous deal in 2014 had “failed to slow deforestation at all” and commitments needed to be delivered on.