WWF welcomes pledges to protect and restore forests and increase financing; urges action and rapid implementation.

Posted on November, 02 2021

More than 100 leaders reaffirm commitments to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030 while delivering sustainable development and promoting an inclusive rural transformation.

WWF welcomes the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use, signed by over 100 Heads of State today at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), and encourages urgent implementation of the commitment. The Declaration commits to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030 and pledges $12 billion in public funds to protect and restore forests, alongside $7.2 billion of private investment. The Declaration is well aligned with the pledge by several of these governments to reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 for sustainable development by endorsing the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature

Fran Price, Lead, WWF Global Forest Practice, said: 
“Forests provide ecosystem services that are critical to human, economic and social well-being, yet they continue to disappear at alarming rates. The commitment by over 100 world leaders to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030 is welcome in that it acknowledges the important value of forests and other natural ecosystems. This should be followed by urgent implementation of those commitments and policies to address the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, including unsustainable agricultural and extractive activities, land tenure and governance and financial flows. It must also include stronger policies in both importing and production countries, more finance for forest conservation, and active participation of Indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) in decision- and policy-making.” 

Governments should ramp up efforts to improve the governance of land and forest by enhancing participation, accountability and transparency, and addressing corrupt behaviors. This includes actively supporting the participation of Indigenous peoples in national and international processes relevant to national climate plans, and advocacy training for Indigenous peoples to promote transparency and dialogue between communities and the government. Governance structures should be designed with inclusion mechanisms to ensure IPLCs, particularly women and youth, are involved in Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) revision processes and IPLC proposals incorporated into public policies that affect their lands and livelihoods. 

We also need to protect standing forests, especially intact forest landscapes, unbroken expanses of natural forest and associated non-forest ecosystems that are critical for carbon storage and sequestration and for conserving biodiversity. In the tropics alone, these areas store some 40% of the above-ground carbon found in forests. In addition, reforms of agricultural policies should be combined with food system transformation to implement approaches that do not harm the environment and advance positive impacts on nature and people. 

We urge governments to complement the forest and land use commitments announced today with ambitious time-bound targets and a common transparent framework for monitoring and verification of such targets. We don’t have time to waste. Implementation is key to delivering results that will secure a nature-positive future.”

Key commitments in the Declaration include:
  1. Conserve forests and other terrestrial ecosystems and accelerate their restoration;
  2. Facilitate trade and development policies, internationally and domestically, that promote sustainable development, and sustainable commodity production and consumption, that work to countries’ mutual benefit, and that do not drive deforestation and land degradation;
  3. Reduce vulnerability, build resilience and enhance rural livelihoods, including through empowering communities, the development of profitable, sustainable agriculture, and recognition of the multiple values of forests, while recognising the rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as local communities, in accordance with relevant national legislation and international instruments, as appropriate;
  4. Implement and, if necessary, redesign agricultural policies and programmes to incentivise sustainable agriculture, promote food security, and benefit the environment;
  5. Reaffirm international financial commitments and significantly increase finance and investment from a wide variety of public and private sources, while also improving its effectiveness and accessibility, to enable sustainable agriculture, sustainable forest management, forest conservation and restoration, and support for Indigenous Peoples and local communities;
  6. Facilitate the alignment of financial flows with international goals to reverse forest loss and degradation, while ensuring robust policies and systems are in place to accelerate the transition to an economy that is resilient and advances forest, sustainable land use, biodiversity and climate goals.

New forest-related climate finance announcement signals positive momentum for forest conservation

Fran Price, Lead, WWF Global Forest Practice
, said: 

“The announcement today that US$15 billion will go toward forest-related climate finance is a much-needed boost for forests globally. It is an encouraging signal that signatories of the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use will back their pledges up with action and resources. We already know that forests are one of the most effective nature-based solutions we have, yet financing for forests remains low compared to other sectors. 

To meet the urgency of the challenge, it is imperative that funding be disseminated quickly and effectively, and is especially made accessible to Indigenous peoples and local communities, who are vital custodians of the world’s remaining natural landscapes. Above all, the focus should be on using this funding to provide incentives to keep forests standing and for stronger policies on deforestation- and conversion-free supply chains and governance. 

There is a critical window of opportunity to tackle some of the most pressing barriers to halting deforestation and conversion - including land tenure, governance models, and monitoring and verification. In addressing these, this funding has the potential to unlock the much greater volumes of finance necessary to reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030. Let’s use this opportunity to accelerate action and inclusiveness, to conserve our forests, and create a more resilient future for people and nature.”

Financial sector’s role in tackling deforestation is key to halting forest loss

More than 30 leading financial institutions committed today to tackle agricultural commodity-driven deforestation. WWF welcomes the announcement and urges the financial sector to do more to mainstream sustainable practices.

Fran Price, Lead, WWF Global Forest Practice, said: 

“Eliminating deforestation and conversion from commodity supply chains requires unprecedented collective action from diverse actors. It’s encouraging that more than 30 leading financial institutions recognise their role in financing companies and activities that can be directly or indirectly linked to deforestation and conversion by committing to eliminate agricultural commodity-driven deforestation from portfolios by 2025.

Action needs to begin immediately as we are still losing forests at an alarming rate with close to 40% of that a result of unsustainable production of agricultural commodities. The finance sector also has a critical role to play in supporting a fair and just transition to sustainable models of commodity production, offering financial products to incentivize and enable deforestation and conversion-free production, trade and sourcing. Finance urgently needs to to be accessible to the millions of Indigenous peoples and local communities, as well as small producers, who are on the front lines of deforestation and conversion.

Financial institutions can do more to leverage action to protect forests and other ecosystems - less than 10% have deforestation and conversion-free policies. We hope this announcement, together with new and existing commitments from governments and the private sector, will accelerate action across society to tackle deforestation and conversion. Without that, there is no chance of keeping 1.5 alive.”

Contact: News@wwfint.org


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