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Several voices echoed in Glasgow for the saving of the planet. Graphic: @UN.

COP26: World leaders and entrepreneurs take on more environmental responsibility

Fundamental commitments to save and restore forests were announced on the second day of the World Leaders Summit.

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During the second day of the definitive climate summit, at the key Leaders' Event on Forests and Land Use, important names from different sectors, including presidents, Indigenous chiefs, bankers and representatives of large private corporations, announced an extensive list of commitments to fight climate change, stop the destruction of biodiversity, eliminate hunger, and protect the rights of Indigenous peoples.

“By destroying forests, we are damaging biodiversity and our lives... Forests provide fresh water, clean the air we breathe, inspire spiritual value and provide us with food... Our challenge now must be to stop deforestation and begin to restore the forests. It is a huge company and each country will need its own approach to the table," was the message transmitted through a short film narrated by the iconic voice of Sir David Attenborough that opened Glasgow on Tuesday, Nov. 2.

Indigenous peoples message
“We will look for concrete evidence of a transformation in the way funds are invested. If 80% of what is proposed is aimed at supporting territorial rights and the proposals of Indigenous and local communities, we will see a dramatic change in the current trend that is destroying our natural resources,” said the spokesperson for the Coordination of the Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA), Tuntiak Katak.

They highlighted that Indigenous people are the custodians of at least 36% of the protected and healthy forests found on the planet, showing that when the local population is empowered in this direction, resources are protected and managed in a better way.

Tuntiak Katak, addressing the venue in Spanish, indicated that they are ready to act and work together. He ended by saying that "we are all traveling in the same canoe in the basin."

COP26 Leaders' Statement on Forests and Land Use
Committed to halting and reversing deforestation by 2030, at least 110 countries, which represent 85% of the world's forests, including absent Russia and Brazil, signed the fundamental declaration.

“Signing the Declaration is the easy part. It is essential that it be implemented now for people and the planet,” urged the UN chief, António Guterres, on his official Twitter account.

What is the statement?

In the text, the leaders promise to strengthen their shared efforts to conserve forests and other terrestrial ecosystems, accelerate their restoration, as well as facilitate sustainable trade and development policies.

It also highlights the empowerment of local communities, including Indigenous people, who are often negatively affected by the exploitation and degradation of forests. It also seeks to implement and redesign agricultural policies to reduce hunger and benefit the environment.

The leaders promised to facilitate financial flows with international goals to reverse losses and degradation, and to accelerate a transition to a greener economy.

In the last decade, approximately 40 times more funds have been spent on destructive land use practices rather than on the protection, conservation and sustainable agriculture of forests.

The commitment signed by more than 30 financial entities, covering more than $8.7 billion of global assets under management, seeks to reduce funds allocated to destructive land use practices and move towards sustainable production.

Bezos' commitment
“Nature is beautiful, but it is also fragile. I was reminded of this in July when I went into space with Blue Origin. They told me that seeing the earth from space changes the lens through which the world is seen, but I was not prepared for how much would be true,” said Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, addressing COP26.

The philanthropist also announced that the Bezos Earth Fund will allocate $2 billion, in addition to the $1 billion announced in September, to help restore nature and transform food systems.

He ended with a commitment to work hand in hand with other organizations to give the children of the world what he called “the improving of the natural world.”

Launch of important initiatives
  • The Innovative Financing for the Amazon, Cerrado and Chacho (“IFACC”) will announce $3 billion to accelerate efforts to ensure that soybean and livestock production do not exacerbate deforestation conditions in South America.
  • The Natural Capital Investment Alliance of the Sustainable Markets Initiative ("NCIA"), an organization founded by the Prince of Wales to boost private investment in natural capital, announced 12 new members and plans to mobilize $10 billion in private equity by the end of 2022.
  • The Forest Finance Acceleration Emissions Reduction Coalition (LEAF), which includes large companies such as Delta, PWC, Airbnb and Unilever, will guarantee an initial amount of $1 billion in public and private funds. These resources will accelerate funding to countries that successfully reduce emissions from deforestation, as long as those reductions have been independently verified and confirmed. Only companies that have already committed to reducing emissions in their own supply chains will provide this funding.
The message of the world's banks
Through a joint declaration of nine multilateral development banks, including the World Bank, support for the measures were announced.

They also committed to incorporating environmental protection in their investment portfolio and in the policy dialogue with the countries.

America's ambitious commitment
With a commitment to guarantee free water, maintain biodiversity, protect Indigenous communities and reduce the risk of spreading disease, the President of the United States, Joe Biden, opened his speech.

Biden assured that his administration is already working to restore 20 million hectares of forest land and announced the creation of a new plan to support the cessation of deforestation and the restoration of carbon sinks.

The United States also pledged to support the restoration of 200 million hectares of forest by 2030.

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