COP26: Over 100 countries agree to end deforestation by 2030

The devil is in the detail.

Zhangxin Zheng | November 02, 2021, 03:08 PM

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World leaders who gathered at the largest climate conference, COP26, have pledged to "halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation" by 2030.

This is a "landmark agreement", according to the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson who is the host of the conference.

As of Nov. 1, 105 countries pledged to be part of this agreement include Brazil, China, Canada, Indonesia, Russia, the Republic of Congo and the United States.

Over 85 per cent of world's forests are located in these countries.

The agreement will include around US$19.2billion private and public funds.

Separately, 28 countries agreed to eliminate deforestation in the global food trade for goods such as palm oil, soy and cocoa, BBC reported.

More than 30 big companies also committed to stop investing in activities linked to deforestation.

A similar pact was made before

While this is a significant deal and it brings optimism to what people can expect from COP26, a major international pact to end deforestation is not new.

In 2014, over 200 governments, companies and organisations signed the New York Declaration on Forests (NYDF), which aims to end tropical deforestation by 2030. However, seven years on, these participants are not on track to meet this goal. 

That said, there are more financial investments, regulations from government and commitments made by private firms to achieve deforestation-free supply chain in recent years, NYDF noted.

Experts who spoke to BBC said that the agreement made at COP26 involves more countries and money but added that "the devil is in the detail" which still needed to be seen.

More about COP26

Ending deforestation is one of the goals of the UK COP26 Presidency.

Other targets include to end coal usage, accelerate the move to clean electric vehicles and finance the green transition, helping the most countries in particular.

To keep global warming to 1.5 degrees, the world needs to achieve net-zero carbon emission by 2050.

World leaders from almost 200 countries are attending the two-week climate conference at Glasgow, happening between Oct. 31 and Nov. 12.

Top photo by Doug Peters/ UK Government