Leaders of more than 100 nations, including Brazil, China and the United States, vowed on Monday, November 2, at climate talks in Glasgow to end deforestation by 2030. Brazil, where stretches of the Amazon rainforest have been cut down, was among the signatories. The countries who have signed the pledge, including Canada, Brazil, Russia, China, Indonesia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the UK and the US, cover around 85 per cent of the world's forests.
As part of this goal, at least USD 1.7bn of funding will be given directly to indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) in recognition of their key role in protecting the planet's lands and forests, reported The Guardian. The governments of the US, Germany, Norway, Netherlands and UK are leading the funding pledge. Over 30 financial firms, including Aviva, Schroders and Axa, also pledged to stop investing in companies responsible for deforestation.
'Another Decade of Deforestation'
The pledge will demand "transformative further action," the countries' declaration said, and it was accompanied by several measures intended to help put it into effect. But some advocacy groups criticised it and said they would allow deforestation to continue. Greenpeace criticised it for giving the green light to "another decade of deforestation."
"Indigenous peoples are calling for 80 per cent 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 added.
Tuntiak Katan, a leader of Ecuador's indigenous Shuar people who serves as general coordinator of the Global Alliance of Territorial Communities, said, "We are happy with the financing announcement, but we will be watching for concrete measures that will reveal whether the intent is to transform a system that has directed less than 1 per cent of climate funding to indigenous and local communities. What matters is what happens next."
Earlier efforts to conserve forests have largely been unsuccessful. One programme recognised in the Paris climate accord seeks to pay forested nations for reducing tree loss, but not much progress has been achieved on that front.
In 2014, an agreement to end deforestation by 2030, the New York Declaration on Forests, set goals without a means to achieve them, and deforestation continued (Brazil did not sign up for it). Last year, deforestation in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil hit a 12-year high under President Jair Bolsonaro.
Is This Pledge Different?
However, supporters of the new pledge said that it expands the number of countries and comes with specific guidelines to save forests. "What we're doing here is trying to change the economics on the ground to make forests worth more alive than dead," The New York Times quoted Eron Bloomgarden, whose group Emergent helps match public and private investors with forested countries and provinces looking to receive payments for reducing deforestation, as saying.
The participating governments promised "support for smallholders, Indigenous Peoples and local communities, who depend on forests for their livelihoods and have a key role in their stewardship."
Brazil, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which collectively accounts for 85 per cent of the world's forests, are among those backing the joint statement to be released at the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow.
Apart from absorbing carbon dioxide, forests filter water, cool the air and even make rain, supporting agriculture elsewhere.
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