‘We therefore commit to working collectively to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030 while delivering sustainable development and promoting an inclusive rural transformation.’
TRG’s COP26 monitoring group response:
We have 100 countries signing up, and some of these signatories have substantial forest areas, which is a great start, but Climate Change is happening here and now and we need to act immediately if we are going to see a positive effect in time. Global forests absorb one third of annual CO2 emissions, but on average 28 million hectares of forest are cut down every year. There are some big questions that we need to ask the signatories such as the following:
- There is a commitment to stop deforestation in 8 years time, but what are the practical steps and measures that are going to be employed as we countdown to 2030?
- Most of the countries with the largest forests host the poorest people. How can we fairly and equitably incentivise local populations to protect and manage their forests in a sustainable way? Particularly where use of the forest region is shared with large corporations.
- How will signatories practically demonstrate their commitment to this declaration? What will be the physical proof? Will they permit and acknowledge the outcome of regular independent forest monitoring and reporting?
- What will be the sanctions caused by state failure to adhere to the declaration and who will impose them? Will it only be by embarrassment? Most of the individuals that have signed will have moved on in 8 years and be unembarrassable.
What drives deforestation is money, what will stop deforestation is investment. Through informed purchasing decisions, we as consumers of forest products or of products grown on deforested land, should support visibility of the upstream supply chain to enable good forest management to happen.
It is we as individuals and as participants in global industry who have the ability and responsibility to enact this 2030 commitment through transparency and investment, to ensure that the products we buy and supply do not cost us the Earth.