At the recently concluded 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Egypt, the Central African Forest Commission (COMIFAC) took to the stage to denounce one of the unfulfilled promises of COP26. At the previous summit, donors committed to funding the protection and management of the Congo Basin forests to the tune of 1.5 billion dollars. This commitment is already insufficient. The countries of the sub-region are asking for $100 billion to preserve the forests of the Congo Basin.
“Existential threats,” harsh warnings and hope in U.N. Global Land Outlook – ATIBT
“At no other point in modern history has humanity faced such an array of familiar and unfamiliar risks and hazards interacting in a hyper-connected and rapidly changing world,” said Ibrahim Thiaw, the executive secretary of the U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), in a statement on the launch of the second Global Land Outlook report (GLO2).
“We cannot afford to underestimate the scale and impact of these existential threats,” he said.
Launched in the lead-up to the UNCCD COP15 summit in Abidjan, the outlook states that up to 40 percent of the planet’s land is degraded, directly affecting half of humanity and threatening around half of global gross domestic product ($44 trillion).
GLO2 then lays out three scenarios for the planet’s degradation trajectory to 2050. Under a business-as-usual scenario, an area around the size of South America will continue to degrade – with serious implications for carbon emissions, biodiversity and agricultural productivity. As such, “business-as-usual is not a viable pathway for our continued survival and prosperity,” Thiaw said. “Conserving, restoring, and using our land resources sustainably is a global imperative: one that requires action on a crisis footing.”
Ermias Betemariam, a land health scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF) who was on the outlook’s steering committee, also emphasized the salience of the human-environment relationship in the findings.
“Readers will recognize the pivotal roles that land plays for people and nature,” he said. “The report highlights very clearly that we need more, faster, and better action to prevent, reduce, and restore land degradation.”
So what might such necessary and urgent action look like? According to the report, if we instead restore 35 percent of our land area – that’s 5 billion hectares, which is five times the global area currently pledged for restoration – agricultural productivity will increase, while carbon stocks will rise due to gains in soil carbon and reduced total emissions.
Soil water holding capacity will increase by 4 percent in rainfed croplands, and while biodiversity will continue to decline, 11 percent of total biodiversity loss will be averted.
“Investing in large-scale land restoration is a powerful, cost-effective tool to combat desertification, soil erosion, and loss of agricultural production,” Thiaw said. “As a finite resource and our most valuable natural asset, we cannot afford to continue taking land for granted.”
Better still, if we both restore degraded land and conserve key natural areas, an additional 83 gigatonnes of carbon would be stored compared to the baseline – equivalent to more than seven years of total current global emissions.
Around a third of the biodiversity loss projected in the baseline would be prevented, and an additional 4 million square kms of natural areas (the size of India and Pakistan) would be gained, with the largest increases expected in South and Southeast Asia and Latin America.
“Land is the operative link between biodiversity loss and climate change, and therefore must be the primary focus of any meaningful intervention to tackle these intertwined crises,” said Andrea Meza Murillo, deputy executive secretary at UNCCD.
“Restoring degraded land and soil provides fertile ground on which to take immediate and concerted action.”
The report found that the economic returns of restoring land and reducing degradation, greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss would be immense – up to $125 or $140 trillion a year.
The investments required to do so would be minimal in comparison to the annual $700 billion in perverse subsidies given to the fossil fuel and agricultural industries: to meet current pledges to restore a billion hectares in the next decade, for instance, would require repurposing just $1.6 trillion of that sum.
Given the U.N. Decade for Restoration (2021-2030) has just begun, Thiaw is hopeful that such a shift will be timely and actionable.
Forest Declaration Assessment in the Congo Basin: Interview with Monique Catherine Bisseck Epse Yigbedek, regional coordinator of the African Women’s Network for Sustainable Development (REFADD) – FOREST DECLARATION
In 2022, the Forest Declaration Assessment included a regional pilot in the Congo Basin. Nine civil society organizations participated in this regional assessment, providing expertise, collecting data and contributing to the first regional Forest Declaration Assessment report that will be published in November 2022. This interview series highlights the work of these regional partners.
EarthRanger, an artificial intelligence programme for monitoring wildlife, has been deployed in six more natural parks in Botswana, Mozambique and the Republic of Congo. The project, which will run until March 2026, is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and its partners to the tune of US$7.2 million. It aims to reduce the decline of biodiversity in Africa.
Delegates gathered against an ominous backdrop of multiple crises: energy, cost of living, indebtedness, nature loss, and geopolitical tensions among major powers. But the need to act in the face of the climate crisis has never been clearer. Global average temperature rise is already 1.1°C. People around the world are experiencing the effects of climate change, from heatwaves and droughts to floods and superstorms. Only the wealthiest countries can (so far) cope. As Sherry Rehman, Minister of Climate Change, Pakistan, implored “Vulnerability shouldn’t be a death sentence.”
FLEGT’s achievements must be saved at all costs, says Christian Mounzéo of Rencontre pour la paix et les droits de l’homme (RPDH), Republic of Congo. When the European Commission published its draft Regulation on deforestation-free products last November, the first reaction among Congo’s civil society was surprise. The second was concern.
EU deforestation regulation must strengthen the FLEGT process and producer countries’ own efforts to combat deforestation – FERN
The EU’s deforestation regulation must strengthen the FLEGT process and producer countries’ own efforts to combat deforestation, says Justin Kamga, Coordinator of Cameroonian NGO Forêts et Développement Rural (Foder).
In September, Fern’s civil society partners from the Congo Basin, West Africa and South East Asia came to Brussels to talk with policymakers about deforestation’s impact - on landscapes as well as people. More specifically, they shared their expertise on how the EU can tackle its responsibility for destroying forests around the world, and to highlight the potential ramifications of its proposed.
UN Climate Change News, 20 November 2022 – The United Nations Climate Change Conference COP27 closed today with a breakthrough agreement to provide “loss and damage” funding for vulnerable countries hit hard by climate disasters.
Just published - More is not enough: Central Africa and the proposed 30% protected and conserved areas by 2030
Here we summarize the discussions regarding how Central African countries could achieve the 30 × 30 target by addressing the following four matters. (1) Several financing mechanisms centred on forest carbon sequestration have started. Yet despite awareness of the importance of biodiversity and the fight against climate change, funding remains cruelly short of the required 10-fold scaling up. (2) Public–private partnerships, in which governments delegate the management of protected areas to private partners, have shown increased management efficiency and financing. Please download the Document....
Ministers return to Egypt to lend their political weight to delegates wrestling with key issues. About 200 nations from around the globe continued to chase a deal at the Cop27 summit in Egypt that will help in the struggle to save the planet from climate change. But despite hurdles, small but significant signs surfaced that an agreement at the UN summit remained possible.
Thank you Mr. President to you and your team for all your work. And I also want to thank the secretariat and the Chairs of the subsidiary bodies. It hasn’t been easy. But I want to begin by recognising the progress on loss and damage. This is historic. The decision that we have taken here has the potential to support and increase that support for the most vulnerable.
Exclusive: Funding from rich countries is critical issue at Cop27 and poll shows many think UK has duty to provide it. A significant majority of people in the UK think the country has a responsibility to pay for climate action in poorer and vulnerable countries, an opinion poll shows.
Negotiations moved slowly on several issues, particularly finance. For other issues, texts were forwarded to the COP Presidency or ministers for further consideration. Agreement on a decision on the Santiago Network was met with applause from negotiators. Talks on the Adaptation Fund Board also reached compromise.
While ministers gave high-level speeches that relayed their national priorities, negotiators worked to clear as much of the backlog of pending issues as possible. By the end of the day, numerous issues remained unresolved. Ministers will take up a shortlist of issues to bridge the remaining differences.
Australia told to end new fossil fuel subsidies if it wants Pacific support to host climate summit –THE GUARDIAN
Vanuatu’s climate change minister says Pacific support for Australian bid should be conditional. Australia must stop subsidising new fossil fuel developments if it is to win a key Pacific nation’s support for its plan to co-host a major UN climate summit in 2026.
Sharm El-Sheikh, 15 November 2022 – Senior officials from several governments, the UN Environment Program (UNEP) and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) launched a new five-year work programme at COP27 today to promote climate technology solutions in developing countries.
Monday began with a recognition of the significant volume of work ahead. The Subsidiary Bodies forwarded a long list of issues to this second week of talks, adding to the slate of political-level discussions on key issues to be facilitated by ministers and the Presidency later in the week.
Al Gore and High-Level Speakers: Transparency and Accountability Underpin Effective Climate Action - unfccc
UN Climate Change News, 14 November 2022 – Two weeks of transparency events kicked off at COP27 in Egypt last week under the banner “Together4Transparency”. With discussions ranging from the need for reliable greenhouse gas emissions estimates accessible to all to the role that information plays in reducing risks and uncertainties in order to attract financial support for action, the series of events addresses the full range of actors and issues related to transparency.
UN Climate Change News, 14 November 2022 – Important progress on sustainable forest management and conservation has been made at the UN Climate Change Conference COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh with the launch of the Forest and Climate Leaders’ Partnership (FCLP), which aims to unite action by governments, businesses and community leaders.
Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, 11 November 2022 – At launch events held today at COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, a major package of support of over USD $150 million for adaptation was launched. The package was announced at a special session on "Advancing Adaptation Action in Africa" co-hosted by H.E. Sameh Shoukry, COP27 President, and United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry.
Adaptation and Agriculture Thematic Day at COP27 Focuses on How the World Will Feed 8 Billion – COP27
Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, 12 November 2022 – The Adaptation and Agriculture thematic day at COP27 focused on how the world will feed eight billion people. Throughout the day, a series of sessions and initiatives shed light on pathways forward on adaptation and climate resilient agriculture.
The first week of the Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Change Conference concluded with the closing plenaries of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI). Substantive conclusions were adopted on a limited number of issues, mostly related to the consideration of reports by constituted bodies and to reporting. On many issues, only procedural conclusions were adopted which noted that further work is required to finalize the relevant decisions.
With the end of the first week of the Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Change Conference nearing, co-facilitators across many negotiation rooms reminded delegates of the need to conclude consideration of the items set to be forwarded to the closing plenaries of the Subsidiary Bodies (SBs), scheduled for the next day.
Funding urgently needed to cope with climate disasters – and to prevent distrust crashing UN negotiations. Money is likely to be a flashpoint at the UN Cop27 climate summit starting on Sunday in Egypt, where world leaders will attempt to tackle the climate crisis.
World Leaders Launch Forests and Climate Leaders’ Partnership to accelerate momentum to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030 - bringing the total funds committed to $24,5 bn November 7, 2022 at COP27 - 26 countries, including some Central African countries and the European Union – which together account for over 33% of the world’s forests and nearly 60% of the world’s GDP launch the Forest and Climate Leaders’ Partnership (FCLP).
Heads of State and Government and their entourages took over the conference venue on the second day of the Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Change Conference. With their presence, leaders aimed to signal sustained momentum on climate action. In parallel, intergovernmental negotiations got up to speed. Discussions on some agenda items, such as those related to cooperative approaches under the Paris Agreement (Article 6.2), drew such crowds that they surpassed room capacity. Please download the Document....
COP27- Empowering a Climate-Resilient Africa for the 21st Century: Articulating vision and opportunity - IISD
At what is being referred to as the "African COP," political, industry, and civil society leaders voiced strong condemnations of shortcomings in adaptation financing for Africa. Against a backdrop of global economic slowdown and political instability, the African continent is making headway in designing initiatives to overcome the worst impact of climate change. Hosted by Mokgweetsi Masisi, President of Botswana, and organized by the United Nations Science-Policy-Business Forum on the Environment (SPBF), this high-level event called for greater leadership and renewed international cooperation to support African-led adaptation efforts.
World Leaders Launch Forests and Climate Leaders’ Partnership to accelerate momentum to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030 -UK
Today at COP27 world leaders will launch the Forests and Climate Leaders’ Partnership (FCLP), committing to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030 in the fight against climate change and as promised in the Glasgow Climate Pact.
At COP26 in Glasgow (2021) twelve donors committed to a collective Congo Basin pledge of at least US$1.5 billion of financing between 2021 and 2025. Over the course of 2021, the donors have collectively provided over $508 million towards the Congo Basin Pledge, with just under $311 million disbursed in the region so far. The report provides more detail on the collective spend, including case studies. Please download the 2021 report...
On the sidelines of this international climate governance conference, the Commission of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), gathering 11 member states1, is organizing today, November 7, 2022, at the DRC Pavilion (P80), from 12:30 pm the day of the ECCAS at COP 27, under the Leadership of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), country presiding over this instrument of regional integration. Please download the press release of the day...
Two major events for the ATIBT sectors are taking place every day at the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 27) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, from 6 to 18 November 2022.
Distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to declare open the twenty-seventh session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Friends, let me begin by thanking our friends here in Egypt for such a warm welcome.
We are five days from the start of the 2022 UN Climate Change Conference (COP27). As COP President, Egypt is proud to host more than 45,000 registered COP27 participants representing Parties, UN and regional organizations, businesses, the scientific community, indigenous and local communities and civil society to jointly enhance and accelerate the implementation of climate action and follow up on our collective commitments and pledges. We hope that the welcoming people and natural beauty of Sharm El Sheikh can provide some inspiration for us to take the very needed meaningful steps to fight for the people and planet and save lives and livelihoods.
Cairo, Egypt - November 2022 – COP27, the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference, hosted by Egypt in Sharm El Sheikh will see delegates from around the world participate in the annual climate change negotiations. With over 40,000 estimated attendees, the summit is expected to host one of the largest number of participants in the annual global climate conference, which is running from November 6 to 18 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
Gabon has just been certified for carbon credit by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The government welcomes a step forward for the marketing of carbon credits in Gabon. On Friday 7 October 2022, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) published́ its report on the technical analysis of Gabon’s activities over the period 2010-2018 on reducing emissions from deforestation, forest degradation, as well as conservation of forest carbon stocks, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks (REDD+).