What COP26 means for forests and the climate

What COP26 means for forests and the climate

Dubbed the “Nature COP,” forests were front and center throughout the UN climate summit (COP26) this year. Among the first and most significant announcements made at COP26 was the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use, in which 137 countries committed to collectively end forest loss and land degradation by 2030.

This pledge was followed by scores of forest-related announcements — including significant funding commitments from countries and foundations to support conservation of tropical forests, the communities best positioned to steward them, and the restoration of degraded land. Meanwhile, companies and investors pledged to reduce forest loss and support a transition to more sustainable land-use within their supply chains and financial portfolios. 

What does this mean for forests and climate action? We walk through the numbers.

What Was Promised on Forests at COP26?

Countries signing on to the Glasgow Declaration affirmed the importance of all forests in limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F), adapting to the impacts of climate change, and maintaining healthy ecosystem services. They agreed to collectively “halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030 while delivering sustainable development and promoting an inclusive rural transformation,” without saying exactly what they would do to achieve this goal.  

Funding pledges followed the declaration. A total of $19.2 billion ($12 billion from public sources and $7.2 billion in private financing) was pledged to help protect and restore forests globally. This included $1.7 billion to help Indigenous peoples and local communities exercise decision-making and design roles in climate programs and finance instruments.

This is an excerpt from an article by Rod Taylor, Michelle Sims, David Burns and Katie Lyons, originally published by the World Resources Institute.

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