GAt the end of week one of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), governments and businesses have joined with farmers and local communities to secure new agreements to protect nature and accelerate the shift to sustainable agriculture and land-use practices by making them more attractive, accessible and affordable than unsustainable alternatives.
Twenty-six nations, including India, Colombia, Vietnam, Germany, Ghana and Australia, set out new commitments to change their 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.
- Brazil’s plan to scale its ABC+ low carbon farming programme to 72 million hectares, saving 1 billion tonnes of emissions by 2030
- Germany’s plans to lower emissions from land use by 25 million tonnes by 2030
- the UK’s aim to engage 75% of farmers in low carbon practices by 2030.
Commitments made by countries 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.
“If we are to limit global warming and keep the goal of 1.5 degree Celsius alive, then the world needs to use land sustainably and put protection and restoration of nature at the heart of all we do,” says Alok Sharma, COP26 president. “The commitments being made today show that nature and land use is being recognised as essential to meeting the Paris agreement goals, and will contribute to addressing the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss.”
The World Bank will commit to spending US$25 billion in climate finance annually to 2025 through its Climate Action Plan, including a focus on agriculture and food systems.
In a show of similar commitment from the private sector, almost 100 high-profile companies from a range of sectors committed to becoming “nature positive”. Commitments include supermarkets pledging to cut their environmental impact across climate- and nature-loss, and fashion brands guaranteeing the traceability of their materials.