G20 delivers limited progress, leaders must now step up in Glasgow to secure a 1.5C pathway

Posted on October, 31 2021

G20 leaders mostly reaffirmed and made few new commitments to act on the climate crisis. Much more is needed to close critical planetary gaps.

Rome, Italy (31 October 2021) - Ahead of the COP26 climate talks, G20 leaders mostly reaffirmed and made few new commitments to act on the climate crisis. Much more is needed to close critical planetary gaps. 


In the G20 Rome Leaders’ Declaration, issued today at the conclusion of the G20 Summit in Rome, leaders set out steps they will be taking to tackle climate change and protect and restore biodiversity. 

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, WWF Global Lead Climate & Energy, and President of COP20, said: “We expected much more from G20 countries, responsible for 78% of global greenhouse gas emissions. They must now enhance their 2030 Nationally Determined Contributions as soon as possible to close the ambition gap and limit global temperature rise to a maximum of 1.5C, and urgently put in place policies and actions to meet those targets. We know that stronger commitments and action are urgently needed, as the UNFCCC NDC Synthesis Report showed. We can't afford to wait until 2025, so COP26 must deliver a Glasgow pathway to accelerate implementation that sets the course of action between now and then.”

Commenting on G20 nature commitments, Gavin Edwards, Global Coordinator, New Deal for Nature and People, WWF-International, said: “The commitment from G20 leaders to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 brings us one step closer to securing a nature-positive world and is essential to protecting human health and livelihoods. It also supports climate action. Leaders meeting in Glasgow must remember that there is no viable route to limiting global warming to 1.5C without protecting and restoring nature.

“WWF welcomes G20 leaders’ promise to scale up and implement nature-based solutions or ecosystem-based approaches – done right, they are powerful ways to tackle our connected nature and climate crises in a manner that benefits people and the planet. It is essential that the critical role of nature-based solutions are now recognized in the formal outcomes of COP26 and also at the biodiversity COP in Kunming next year, and deployed with real urgency.”

Commenting on the aspirational goal to collectively plant 1 trillion trees by 2030, Fran Price, Global Forest Practice Lead for WWF, said: “WWF welcomes the shared goal of G20 leaders to plant one trillion trees by 2030 as a contribution to the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and in step with keeping nature at the heart of COP26.  However, given the urgency with which we need to protect and restore forests globally, we need more than aspirational goals and G20 leaders should back today’s commitment with credible implementation plans and finance – and ensure that these efforts engage and benefit Indigenous peoples and local communities and are carried out in ways that respect their rights and territories.” 

“Efforts to restore forest ecosystems must come alongside rapid decarbonization and efforts to halt the deforestation of standing forests, which continue to be destroyed at alarming rates. It is also important to ensure that trees are planted in the right places - ideally as part of broader, inclusive ecosystem landscape restoration strategies - and in consultation and collaboration with local communities.” 


On nature, the published G20 Declaration reaffirms Paris Agreement commitments and includes commitments to:

  • Enhance their 2030 NDCs and submit adaptation plans.

  • Strengthen actions to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030.

  • Scale up and encourage the implementation of Nature-based Solutions or Ecosystem-based Approaches.

  • Recognize the efforts made by countries (93 and the EU) that have endorsed the Leaders Pledge for Nature

  • Make progress toward ensuring that 30% of land, oceans and seas (“30x30”) are conserved or protected by 2030, in accordance with national circumstances. 

  • Calls on CBD Parties to adopt an ambitious, balanced, practical, effective, robust and transformative post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework at COP15 in Kunming in 2022.

  • Acknowledge that financing for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response (PPR) has to become more adequate, more sustainable and better coordinated.  -  This needs to be backed up by finance to do so.

  • Share the aspirational goal to collectively plant 1 trillion trees, focusing on the most degraded ecosystems in the planet.




Notes to Editor:

  • G20 Leaders commitment around 30x30 is an important step toward including a target in the post-2020 global biodiversity framework to ensure that, by 2030, 30% of land, inland waters, marine and coastal areas are conserved, while ensuring that areas governed by indigenous peoples and local communities are appropriately recognized and secured. 

  • WWF is a partner in Trillion Trees, a joint venture between three of the world’s largest conservation organisations - Birdlife, WCS and WWF, with the goal to protect and restore forests across the world for the benefit of people, nature and climate.

  • WWF is a Global Partner in the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, which aims to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems on every continent and in every ocean.

  • Keeping forests standing is the most effective nature-based solution we have. Forests are home to more than half of the world’s land-based species, support the livelihoods of over 1.6 billion people, absorb 30% of annual global anthropogenic CO2 emissions, and over 75% of the world’s accessible freshwater comes from forested watersheds. Healthy forests are therefore critical to human and planetary health. 

  • Yet between 2004 and 2017, 43 million hectares of tropical forests - an area the size of Morocco - were lost in the tropics and sub-tropics alone.

  • Forest restoration is much more than just planting trees. Forest Ecosystem Restoration should follow the 10 guiding principles for the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and must be inclusive and respect the rights and territories of Indigenous peoples and local communities.



G20 leaders met in Rome, Italy ahead of COP26
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