More than 140 world leaders have pledged to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030 through the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use.
The historic pact was announced at the COP26 World Leaders Summit ‘Action on Forests and Land Use’ which brought together an unprecedented alliance of governments, companies, financial actors, and non-state leaders to raise ambition on forests and land-use.
Rod Taylor, Forest Program Global Director, World Resources Institute said: “This announcement sends an undeniable message that forests are critical to meeting global climate goals. Ending deforestation is essential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to keep global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees C”
“In order to make real progress, the declaration must herald new ways of doing business, including far more accountability. For example, countries need to insert concrete forest protection measures into trade agreements and national development plans.” He added.
Twelve donor countries have pledged to provide $12 Billion USD (£8.75 billion) of public climate finance from 2021 to 2025 to a new Global Forest Finance Pledge . This will support action in developing countries, including restoring degraded land, tackling wildfires and advancing the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities.
Deforestation has caused disruptions to global water cycles due to major shifts in precipitation, evidenced by a growing body of research including a report published earlier this year by The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and Food and Agriculture Organisation (UNFAO).
The report revealed that a staggering 76 Percent of the world's accessible freshwater comes from forested watersheds, and that deforestation has increased risks of flooding, disturbed streamflow and depleted groundwater.
Addressing the need for substantial financial investment, UNEP's executive director Inger Andersen said: "To meet climate, biodiversity and land degradation targets, financial flows to nature-based solutions must triple by 2030 and increase four-fold by 2050. So, governments must allocate funds to restoration in COVID-19 recovery packages. Businesses, banks, investors and insurers must reform their operations and financial flows to restore the natural world."