Recently, India did not sign the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use – an ambitious declaration initiated by the United Kingdom (UK) to “halt deforestation” and land degradation by 2030, as it objected to “trade” being interlinked to climate change and forest issues in the agreement.
About Declaration on Forests and Land Use
- The declaration has over 140 signatories including the UK, US, Russia and China.
- India, Argentina, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and South Africa are the only G20 countries that did not sign the declaration.
- The declaration says, “Recognise that to meet our land use, climate, biodiversity and sustainable development goals, both globally and nationally, will require transformative further action in the interconnected areas of sustainable production and consumption; infrastructure development; trade; finance and investment; and support for smallholders, Indigenous Peoples, and local communities, who depend on forests for their livelihoods and have a key role in their stewardship.”
- The declaration interlinks trade to climate change and forest issues. Trade falls under the WTO and should not be brought under climate change declarations. We had asked the word “trade” to be removed, but they did not agree. So, we have not signed the declaration.”
- Twenty eight governments have also committed to remove deforestation from the global trade of food and other agricultural products such as palm oil, soya and cocoa.
- Governments representing 75% of global trade in key commodities that can threaten forests – such as palm oil, cocoa and soya – will commit to a common set of actions to deliver sustainable trade and reduce pressure on forests, including support for smallholder farmers and improving the transparency of supply chains.
- The leaders who signed the declaration represent over 85% of the world’s forests and 12 countries have committed 12 billion dollars in public funds from 2021-25, to protect and restore forests, alongside 7.2 billion dollars of newly-mobilised private investment.
- This will include a 1.5 billion dollar fund to protect the Congo Basin –home to the second-largest tropical rainforest in the world.
- Leaders committed $19 billion of public and private funds to “halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030”. They represented close to nine-tenth of world forests. The Declaration was hailed as the “biggest step” in protecting global forests.
- Countries spanning from Canada and Russia, with their northern boreal or taiga forests to the tropical rainforests of Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo endorsed the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forest and Land Use.
- Together, they contain 85 per cent of the world’s forests, an area of over 13 million square miles.
- Forests, being the lungs of our planet, absorb around a third of the global carbon dioxide released from burning fossil fuels every year. But the gas is stated to be lost at an alarming rate, with an area of forest equivalent to the size of 27 football pitches getting lost every minute.
- Governments representing 75 per cent of global trade in key commodities that can threaten forests — such as palm oil, cocoa and soya — will also sign up to a new Forests, Agriculture and Commodity Trade (FACT) Statement.
- Currently, almost a quarter (23 per cent) of global emissions come from land use activity, such as logging, deforestation and farming.
- Protecting forests and ending damaging land use is one of the most important things the world can do to limit catastrophic global warming, while also protecting the lives and futures of the 1.6 billion people worldwide — nearly 25 per cent of the world’s population — who rely on forests for their livelihoods.
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