COP26: AWF Supports World Leaders Summit Action on Forests and Land Use

COP26: AWF Supports World Leaders Summit Action on Forests and Land Use

Press Release

COP26: AWF Supports World Leaders Summit Action on Forests and Land Use

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The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) welcomes and commends world leaders for starting off the negotiations with powerful commitments that go beyond political statements and extend to financial commitments. Already, 12 countries have pledged US$ 12 billion to be set aside to support activities including strengthening forest governance, supporting smallholder farmers to restore degraded land, strengthening land tenure systems, and mobilizing private sector investment.

This level of investment together with anticipated commitments to reshape commodity value chains are key to addressing the underlying drivers of deforestation. Governments and companies representing 75 percent of global trade in commodities linked to deforestation — such as palm oil, cocoa, and soya farming — are expected to commit to reshaping how production and consumption patterns impact forests through the Forests, Agriculture, and Commodity Trade (FACT) Statement.

As much as this is an encouraging start, it is important to note that there is still a long way to go. The committed funds alone are nowhere near the actual management costs required to meet the ambitions stated in the political commitment where leaders representing over 85 percent of the world’s forests have committed to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030. This is a monumental task that is essential to achieving global net zero emission targets.

Currently, almost a quarter (23 percent) of global emissions come from land-use activity, such as logging, deforestation, and farming. AWF’s work in forest landscapes across Africa including Cameroon, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of Congo demonstrates how integrated landscape approaches can deliver for people and nature through inclusive, market-oriented approaches. The establishment of a new £1.1 billion (US$ 1.5 billion) fund to protect the Congo Basin, home to the second-largest tropical rainforest in the world, will go a long way in scaling these approaches. Ensuring that proper implementation mechanisms go alongside these financial resources is key to the success of the restoration projects in this region.

“There is a growing need to develop a transparent mechanism that will ensure that the money goes where it is supposed to go — especially to global communities that hold the key to achieving these ambitions. As negotiations continue, I urge all key stakeholders to push for better accountability mechanisms as well to reach these ambitious yet necessary goals,” AWF CEO Kaddu Sebunya reiterated.

AWF acknowledges the commitments around trade and finance as vital given the critical support necessary for transitions for emerging economies that are being asked to define an entirely new growth strategy. Without this, there could easily be a race to the bottom that would undermine the global partnership required.

AWF also expects to see individual national emission reduction commitments by the world’s largest emitters as we cannot achieve the set targets if the latter continue with business as usual.