COP26: EU pledges $1B to protect forests

The European Union will contribute €1 billion ($1.16 billion) to the Global Forest Pledge of the UN Climate Change Summit, the top EU official announced on Tuesday.

“I am pleased to announce that the (European) Commission will provide €1 billion to the Global Forest Pledge,” Ursula von der Leyen, the head of the EU executive body, said on the second day of the summit held in the Scottish city of Glasgow.

She stressed that one-quarter of the sum will specifically be dedicated to the Congo Basin in Central Africa, which is the world’s second-largest tropical forest.

Von der Leyen also acknowledged that it was important for the bloc to play it5s part at home, explaining that EU consumers were not willing anymore “to buy products that are responsible for the deforestation of forest degradation.”

The European Commission will soon propose draft legislation to curb EU-driven global deforestation by only allowing commodities and products to the EU market whose production does not lead to deforestation.

She confirmed that the EU signed up to the declaration on Monday committing to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030.

“Europe is delighted to be part of this ambitious movement to protect our climate, to protect our heritage, and to protect our forests,” von der Leyen said.

The announcement of the Leader's Declaration on Forests and Land Use came on the first day of the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Over $19.2 billion in public and private funds was pledged to protect and restore forests under the agreement.

The COP26 will continue until Nov. 12 with numerous panels, meetings, and side events, all looking for remedies to reduce the levels of global warming by keeping it at 1.5 degrees Celsius.


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