LONDON: More than 100 global leaders on Tuesday will sign up to an agreement to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by the end of the decade, underpinned by $19 billion to invest in protecting and restoring forests.
The British government, currently hosting the Cop26 summit, said the pledge was backed by public and private funding and endorsed by more than 100 leaders representing more than 85 per cent of the world’s forest, including the Amazon rainforest, Canada’s northern boreal forest and the Congo Basin rainforest, report agencies.
The commitment, to be formally announced at an event convened by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, was welcomed by campaigners and experts, in particular the recognition of the role of indigenous people in protecting forests.
The Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forest and Land Use will cover more than 33.6 million square kilometres, a statement from the prime minister’s office read.
“We will have a chance to end humanity’s long history as nature’s conqueror and instead become its custodian,” said Mr Johnson, calling it an unprecedented agreement.
He said it would support the Cop26 goal of restricting global warming to 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels through the absorption of carbon emissions by forests.
“These great teeming ecosystems – these cathedrals of nature – are the lungs of our planet,” he was expected to tell the event.
“With today’s unprecedented pledges, we will have a chance to end humanity’s long history as nature’s conqueror and instead become its custodian.”
A series of additional government and private initiatives will be launched on Tuesday to help reach that goal, including billions in pledges for indigenous guardians of the forest and sustainable agriculture.
Forests absorb about 30 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions, the non-profit World Resources Institute reported. The forests take the emissions out of the atmosphere and prevent them from warming the climate.
Yet this natural climate buffer is rapidly disappearing.