More than 100 leaders have committed to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030, at day one of COP26 yesterday (Monday, November 1).

The pledge is backed up by almost £14 million in public and private funding.

The countries committing to the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forest and Land Use include Canada, Russia, Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Together, these countries contain 85% of the world’s forests – an area of over 13 million square miles.

This commitment will then be supported by public financing from 12 countries, including the UK, from 2021-2025. This money will go towards supporting activities in developing countries, including restoring degraded land, tackling wildfires and supporting the rights of indigenous communities.

The financing will coincide with at least £5.3 billion from the private sector.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the pledge a ‘landmark agreement’.

“Today, at COP26, leaders have signed a landmark agreement to protect and restore the earth’s forests,” he said.

These great teeming ecosystems – these cathedrals of nature – are the lungs of our planet. Forests support communities, livelihoods and food supply, and absorb the carbon we pump into the atmosphere. They are essential to our very survival.

“With today’s unprecedented pledges, we will have a chance to end humanity’s long history as nature’s conqueror, and instead become its custodian.”

Over five years, the UK will commit £1.5 billion to support the forests pledge, including £350 million for tropical forests in Indonesia, £200 million for the LEAF Coalition and £200 million (to a new £1.1 billion fund with seven other donors) to protect the Congo Basin.

28 governments representing 75% of global trade in key commodities that can threated forests (i.e. palm oil, coca and soya) will also sign up to a new Forests, Agriculture and Commodity Trade (FACT) Statement. This will be a commitment to a common set of actions to deliver sustainable trade and reduce pressure on forests, including support for smallholder farmers and improving transparency of supply chains.