Sun 07 November 2021 View all news

Focusing on nature and land use, forty-five governments promised urgent action and investment to conserve nature and to farm more sustainably. Their pledge was matched by 95 leading companies who committed to being ‘Nature Positive’, agreeing to work towards halting and reversing the decline of nature by 2030.

The UN estimates that land use generates at least a quarter of global annual emissions and that three-quarters of deforestation to date has been driven by the agri-food system.

45 nations have signed on to a new Policy Action Agenda, designed to help policymakers make the necessary changes to deliver a food system that is not only low carbon and deforestation-free, but which supports farmers and others across the food chain; consumes less water and chemicals and produces less waste. (Around a third of all food produced globally is wasted.)

Also launched by the UNFCCC was a Global Action Agenda on Innovation in Agriculture, signed by the same 45 nations, plus more than 100 other organisations including businesses, research institutions, farmers groups and regions and states. The Agenda aims to leverage more than $4bn of public investment in innovations such as climate-resilient crops, digital technologies and solutions that improve soil quality.

Twenty-six nations set out new commitments to change agricultural policies to become more sustainable and less polluting, and to invest in the science needed for sustainable agriculture and for protecting food supplies against climate change, laid out in two ‘Action Agendas’. All continents were represented, with countries including India, Colombia, Vietnam, Germany, Ghana, and Australia.

Examples of national commitments were:

  • Brazil’s plan to scale its ABC+ low carbon farming programme to 72m hectares, saving 1 billion tonnes of emissions by 2030
  • Germany’s plans to lower emissions from land use by 25m tonnes by 2030
  • The UK’s aim to engage 75% of farmers in low carbon practices by 2030

In other developments related to nature and land use:

  • The official COP communique said that additional commitments made by countries at the summit will help to implement the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use which is now endorsed by 134 countries covering 91% of the world’s forests. The Declaration aims to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030. 
  • The World Bank committed to spend $25 billion on climate finance annually to 2025 through its Climate Action Plan, including a focus on agriculture and food systems.  
  • Asset managers covering $8.7trn pledged to end deforestation linked to commodities - 33 major financial institutions have committed to stop financing deforestation driven by agricultural commodities by 2025. 
  • The UK Government confirmed that a £500m package from the £3bn pledged for International Climate Finance on nature and biodiversity will be used to conserve five million hectares of rainforest. It is a part of the Forest, Agriculture and Commodity Trade (FACT) Roadmap.  
  • Commitments from almost 100 companies involved in the 'Nature Positive' commitment include supermarkets pledging to cut their environmental impact across climate and nature-loss and fashion brands guaranteeing the traceability of their materials. Business involved include: Sainsbury's, Tesco, Waitrose, Marks & Spencer (M&S), the Co-op,  OVO Energy, Severn Trent and Burberry.

Meanwhile, following Friday's marches linked to Greta Thunberg and the School Strike movement, around 100,000 people demonstrated in Glasgow as part of a series of 200 marches taking place worldwide. 

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