COP26 was the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Glasgow, United Kingdom, from 31 October to 13 November 2021.

Glasgow Leaders' Declaration on Forest and Land Use

Building on previous commitments under the New York Declaration on Forests, 141 countries committed to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030 through the endorsement of the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forest and Land Use. Together, they contain 91% of the world’s forests, an area of over 14 million square miles.

See the declaration here.


COP26 logo. Image source: COP26 website [image]. Retrieved 7 April 2022, from https://ukcop26.org/

Announcements during the World Leaders Summit

Announcements at COP26 marked the biggest moment for forests and nature since the Paris Agreement. In Paris, only 45 countries mentioned forests and land sectors in their NDCs, and only 23 had quantitative, verifiable emissions reduction targets. During COP, several countries established targets for the forest and land sector in their NDCs, with a large increase in the number of quantitative emissions reduction targets, including:

  • Brazil committed to ending illegal deforestation by 2028, a significant 50% GHG reduction by 2030 and achieving net-zero by 2050.
  • Indonesia committed to restoring 600,000 hectares of mangroves by 2024.
  • France emphasized natural carbon sinks and solutions; the need to help tropical forests, especially in Africa through the Great Green Wall initiative.
  • Thailand will plant 100 million new trees by end of 2022.
  • Argentina announced a new legal framework to eradicate illegal deforestation and protect native peoples.
COP26 World Leaders Summit. Image source: Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street. Boris Johnson - COP26 World Leaders Summit Day 2 [image]. Retrieved 7 April 2022, from https://www.flickr.com/photos/number10gov/51649593441, available under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Other important forest-related declarations

  • The Global Methane Pledge: "commit to a collective goal of reducing global methane emissions by at least 30% from 2020 levels by 2030 and moving towards using best available inventory methodologies to quantify methane emissions, with a particular focus on high emission sources."

  • US-China joint Glasgow declaration: the United States and China announced an agreement to work together to achieve climate action during the next decade. While the majority of the declaration repeats the science we already know, the existing commitments to the Paris Agreement, and the obvious need to increase ambition, there are several specific actions included. China promised to develop a National Action Plan on methane by COP27 and the countries established a Working Group on Enhancing Climate Action in the 2020s to help with cooperation and coordination on concrete actions.

COP decisions

  • Glasgow climate pact: Emphasizes the importance of protecting, conserving and restoring nature and ecosystems to achieve the Paris Agreement temperature goal, including through forests and other terrestrial and marine ecosystems acting as sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gases and by protecting biodiversity, while ensuring social and environmental safeguards.

  • Finance: The draft text acknowledges the $100bn goal has not been met; calls for increased financing for mitigation and adaptation; and “urges'' countries and financial institutions to provide funding for loss and damage. The voices of developing countries have been heard through the call for 50% of finance to be allocated for adaptation, and the need for new funding streams for loss and damage.

  • Article 6: It was the only outstanding piece of the Paris Rulebook. The final deal adopted by nearly 200 countries implements Article 6 of the 2015 Paris Agreement, allowing countries to partially meet their climate targets by buying offset credits representing emission cuts by others.
COP26 in Glasgow. Image source: Danilo Urzedo

Related Tags

smart forests radio