MORE than 100 leaders will commit to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030 in the first milestone COP26 agreement.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson convened an event at the SEC Campus in Glasgow on Tuesday where leaders, whose countries account for 85% of the world’s forests, will make the pledge which is backed by almost £14 billion in public and private funding.

110 countries spanning from the northern forests of Canada and Russia to the tropical rainforests of Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo will endorse the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forest and Land Use.

Together the forests account for an area of over 13 million square miles.

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However, world leaders have been urged to go further than just deforestation, claiming that all habitats must be protected if 2030 climate goals will be reached.

Forests absorb around one-third of the global CO2 released from burning fossil fuels every year, but an area of forest the size of 27 football pitches is lost every minute.

The commitment will be supported by a pledge to provide £8.75bn ($12bn) of public finance from 12 countries, including the UK, from 2021 – 2025.

This will support activities in developing countries, including restoring degraded land, tackling wildfires and supporting the rights of indigenous communities.

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Johnson will convene an event with leaders over the pledge on Tuesday

This will go alongside at least £5.3 billion ($7.2 billion) of newly-mobilised private sector funding. CEOs from more than 30 financial institutions with over $8.7 trillion of global assets – including Aviva, Schroders and Axa – will also commit to eliminate investment in activities linked to deforestation.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to say at the Forest & Land Use event at COP26 on Tuesday: “Today, at COP26, leaders have signed a landmark agreement to protect and restore the earth’s forests.

“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.”

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President of Colombia Iván Duque said: “Colombia is proud to endorse the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use. The Declaration is a landmark commitment from countries to work together to end deforestation and all land degradation within the next decade.

“Never before have so many leaders, from all regions, representing all types of forests, joined forces in this way and Colombia is committed to playing its part.

“We will enshrine in law a commitment to net-zero deforestation by 2030 – one of the most ambitious commitments in Latin America – and to protecting 30% of our land and ocean resources by 2030.”

Prime Minister of Norway Jonas Gahr Store said: “We must work for an improved global framework for climate investments. To "keep 1.5 degrees alive" we have to halt forest loss this decade.

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Deforestation has had a devastating impacct on the planet

“Tropical forest countries need more international support and incentives to transform their land use policies.”

Tuntiak Katan, Coordinator of the Global Alliance of Territorial Communities, representing communities from the rain forests of Africa, Latin America and Indonesia, said: “We welcome the announcement at COP of the Joint Statement on Advancing Support for Indigenous Peoples and local communities that has raised to an unprecedented level their visibility as a climate solution.

“At the same time, we will be looking for concrete evidence of a transformation in the way funds are invested.

“If 80 percent of what is proposed is directed to supporting land rights and the proposals of Indigenous and local communities, we will see a dramatic reversal in the current trend that is destroying our natural resources.”

However, Matt Williams, Climate and Land Programme Lead of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), called for the leaders to go further.

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Noting that protecting forests is vital to reaching climate goals and reducing the amount of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, he added: "But it’s vital this deal goes beyond deforestation and addresses other land degradation. Countries' new 2030 climate goals will only be achieved if all habitats can be protected and restored, and if governments can support farmers to feed the world while protecting the climate.

"This deal brings together forests from around the world alongside a diverse range of countries. But not all of them are forest leaders: Brazil has recently been more interested in plundering than protecting its forests.

“Nonetheless, such a level of consensus among nations bodes well for the remainder of the summit."

Tuesday’s event will see world leaders join with representatives of Indigenous Peoples and local communities, civil society, philanthropists, businesses and the financial system.

Among those speaking alongside the Prime Minister Boris Johnson are HRH The Prince of Wales, President Joko Widodo of Indonesia, President Ivan Duque of Colombia, President Joseph R. Biden Jr. of the United States, President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.