Governments and donors must use climate momentum to deliver on forest pledges
Promising news from Brazil and Indonesia and the leadership shown by Indigenous peoples in forest protection offer breakthrough opportunities to deliver on the promises made at COP26 to halt and reverse forest loss by 2030.
A year has passed since the Glasgow forest pledges, where 145 countries committed to halting and reversing forest loss by 2030. A recent assessment of progress in 2021 showed that we are not on track to meet this target, with particularly Latin America lagging behind.
The backdrop to this is an international community falling far short of the Paris goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C. Forest loss is a major global source of greenhouse gas emissions. According to Global Forest Watch, the world lost almost 4 million hectares of tropical rainforests in 2021.
“Indonesia entering into a new bilateral forest partnership with Norway and the return to power of Lula da Silva in Brazil offers the perfect momentum for the international community gathering in Egypt next week to speed up the delivery of Glasgow’s Forest pledges,” says Toerris Jaeger, Executive Director of Rainforest Foundation Norway.
The urgency of the situation calls for new commitments and enhanced action from major rainforest nations, and for developed countries to increase their financial support. Rainforest Foundation Norway in particular calls for support to Brazil and President Lula’s incoming administration in swiftly rebuilding the country’s broken environmental institutions and governance, combating environmental crimes, ending the violence against Indigenous people and local communities, restoring its civic space, and strengthening its democracy.
“Businesses and investors must ensure supply chains and investments free of deforestation and conflicts and divest from high-risk companies until they commit to an immediate cut-off date for trading in commodities stemming from deforestation,” says Jaeger.
Donors must deliver on promise to Indigenous Peoples and local communities
With the pledges at COP26 in 2021, world leaders recognized the critical importance and value of knowledge and forest guardianship provided by Indigenous Peoples and local communities, calling for the empowerment of these communities. A $1.7bn pledge was made specifically to support Indigenous Peoples and local communities.
We now expect the donors to meet this pledge, and to build strong, at-scale relationships with Indigenous people’s organizations and NGOs as these are pivotal in protecting and sustainably managing tropical rainforest,” says Toerris Jaeger, executive director at Rainforest Foundation Norway.
The recently launched Shandia Platform by Indigenous Leaders from The Global Alliance of Territorial Communities offers donors committed to the Glasgow pledges to increasingly provide direct financing of the protection of forests and biodiversity by local Indigenous peoples and local community organizations.
“COP27 needs to be a stepping stone for protecting tropical rainforests and strengthening the rights of Indigenous peoples and local communities. Governments, businesses and investors need to act swiftly not to be partners of destruction and violence against forest people and environmental defenders,” says Jaeger.
It is time for world leaders and major funders to step up and speed up the delivery of the forest pledges made at COP26. Rainforest Foundation Norway therefore urges:
- To step up actions and commitments to end deforestation by 2030, in line with the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use
- to support Brazil and President Lula’s incoming government in swiftly rebuilding the country's broken environmental institutions and governance, combating environmental crimes, ending the violence against indigenous people and local communities, restoring its civic space and strengthening its democracy
- to build strong, at-scale relationships with IPLC organizations and engage their trusted partners, as national and local NGOs
- to improve their accountability towards IPLCs, aligning funding strategies with their needs
- to improve their transparency by publicly sharing their funding data to better align with the practice of bilateral and multilateral institutions
- to leverage learnings from the COVID-19 pandemic, where some donors allowed recipients to quickly direct resources toward the most urgent community needs
- to incorporate a gender-inclusive lens to existing projects, increase gender-focused programming, and scale up funding for women leaders and their organizations
- to establish and maintain open communication with IPLC organizations, work to simplify administrative requirements where they can, and support trusted mediators to bridge the gap between donor requirements and IPLC needs.
Business and Investors:
- to ensure supply chains and investments free of deforestation and conflicts with indigenous peoples and local communities
- to ensure public disclosure of all production facilities for all commodity producers and related investments in rainforest regions
- to divest from high-risk companies until they demonstrate responsibility and commit to an immediate cut-off date and stop trading commodities from deforestation and in areas with conflict with indigenous peoples and local communities