Lord Goldsmith

06.11.2021

Nations and businesses commit to create sustainable agriculture and land use

  • 45 governments pledge urgent action and investment to protect nature and shift to more sustainable ways of farming
  • 95 high profile companies from a range of sectors commit to being ‘Nature Positive’, agreeing to work towards halting and reversing the decline of nature by 2030 
  • Today marks end of week one of COP26, with negotiations gathering pace

Governments and businesses are joining farmers and local communities today at COP26, securing new agreements to protect nature and accelerate the shift to sustainable agriculture and land use practices by making them more attractive, accessible and affordable than unsustainable alternatives. 

Alongside the events marking Nature and Land Use Day, today marks the end of week one of COP26, with negotiations gathering pace and work focussing on week two. 

Twenty-six nations set out new commitments to change their agricultural policies to become more sustainable and less polluting, and to invest in the science needed for sustainable agriculture and for protecting food supplies against climate change, laid out in two ‘Action Agendas’. All continents were represented, with countries including India, Colombia, Vietnam, Germany, Ghana, and Australia.

Examples of national commitments aligned with this agenda include:

  • Brazil’s plan to scale its ABC+ low carbon farming programme to 72m hectares, saving 1 billion tonnes of emissions by 2030
  • Germany’s plans to lower emissions from land use by 25m tonnes by 2030
  • The UK’s aim to engage 75% of farmers in low carbon practices by 2030

The UK also announced funding of £500m to support the implementation of the Forest, Agriculture and Commodity Trade (FACT) Roadmap that was launched during the World Leaders Summit earlier this week, in which 28 countries are working together to protect forests while promoting development and trade. A further £65 million will support a  ‘Just Rural Transition’ to help developing countries shift policies and practices to more sustainable agriculture and food production. 

Commitments made by countries today will help to implement the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use which is now endorsed by 134 countries covering 91% of the world’s forests. The Declaration aims to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030. 

COP26 President, Alok Sharma said:

If we are to limit global warming and keep the goal of 1.5C alive, then the world needs to use land sustainably and put protection and restoration of nature at the heart of all we do.

The commitments being made today show that nature and land use is being recognised as essential to meeting the Paris Agreement goals, and will contribute to addressing the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss.

Meanwhile, as we look ahead to negotiations in week two of COP, I urge all parties to come to the table with the constructive compromises and ambitions needed.

The World Bank will commit to spending $25 billion in climate finance annually to 2025 through its Climate Action Plan, including a focus on agriculture and food systems.  

In a show of similar commitment from the private sector, almost 100 high-profile companies from a range of sectors committed to becoming ‘Nature Positive’. Commitments include supermarkets pledging to cut their environmental impact across climate and nature-loss and fashion brands guaranteeing the traceability of their materials. 

Representatives from Indigenous and local communities will be participating in events throughout nature day.  As stewards of 80% of the world’s remaining biodiversity, Indigenous Peoples are leaders in how to develop nature-based, resilient and effective solutions to climate change. 

Nature day also follows the announcement on Ocean Action Day on 5 November of over ten new countries signing up to the ‘30by30’ target to protect 30% of the world’s ocean by 2030.  These were: Bahrain, Jamaica, St Lucia, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, India, Qatar, Samoa, Tonga, Gambia and Georgia. The target is now supported by over 100 countries.

Notes to Editors

  • Please email cop26media@cabinetoffice.gov.uk for any COP26 Press/Media inquiries or call the COP26 Press Office on 0207 276 0269.
  • The 45 countries pledging urgent action and investment to protect nature and shift to more sustainable ways of farming include 26 countries supporting either the Policy Action Agenda for the Transition to Sustainable Agriculture or the Global Action Agenda for Innovation in Agriculture, as well as the 28 countries participating in the Forest, Agriculture and Commodity Trade (FACT) Dialogue (with some countries participating in both).
  • Sustainable Agriculture Policy Action Agenda for the Transition to Sustainable Agriculture and Global Action Agenda for Innovation in Agriculture supporters: Australia, Uganda, Madagascar, India, Tanzania, Vietnam, Nigeria, Lesotho, Laos, Indonesia, Guinea, Ghana, Germany, Philippines, Ethiopia, UK, Colombia, Costa Rica, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Philippines, Sierra Leone, Spain, Switzerland, UAE.
  • FACT Roadmap supporting states: Belgium, Brazil, Côte D’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, France, Gabon, Italy, Japan, Liberia, Malaysia, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Republic of Congo, Republic of Korea, Uruguay, US, European Commission.

Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use

  • Launched on 2 November, 134 countries covering 91% of the world’s forests (including Brazil, China, Russia and Indonesia) have now endorsed the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use, committing to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030. 

The full package of commitments and action will also include:

Agricultural reform and innovation:

  • A new global initiative launched to reach 100 million farmers at the centre of food systems transformation with net zero and nature positive innovations by 2030 via a multi-stakeholder platform convened by World Economic Forum (WEF) involving farmers’ organisations, civil society, businesses and other partners.
  • The Policy Action Agenda for the Transition to Sustainable Agriculture sets out pathways and actions that countries can take to repurpose public policies and support to food and agriculture, to deliver these outcomes and enable a just rural transition¹. It also sets out actions and opportunities for other stakeholders (international organisations, food producers, financial entities, researchers, civil society and others) to channel their expertise, knowledge and resources in support of this agenda.
  • New UK funding of £38.5m over 2 years to the CGIAR, the world’s leading agricultural science and innovation organisation, which will create and scale new crops and technologies yielding climate, nature, health, gender and economic impact. The CGIAR was formerly called the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research. Funding will support the development and deployment of:
    • crop varieties that are climate-resilient (more resistant to heat, drought and flooding) and more nutritious (with elevated levels of essential micronutrients). 
    • agricultural practices that are more productive, sustainable and climate-resilient; 
    • new livestock varieties, diagnostics and management practices, which reduce the risks faced by pastoralists and livestock keepers.
    • Foresight and trade off tools for risk management of, and resilience to, major threats emerging from the food system, including anti-microbial resistance and emerging zoonotic diseases.
    • evidence on better policies to help poor farmers use new technology to access markets, reduce risks and increase incomes. 
  • A new UK initiative to transform climate-resilient food systems through research and innovation. The Gilbert Initiative will coordinate investments in evidence generation, technology development and delivery to support a food system that by 2030 feeds 9 billion people with nutritious, safe foods; uses environmental resources sustainably; enhances resilience and adaptation to climate change; and generates inclusive growth and jobs.

Sustainable production and consumption:

  • Sainsbury’s, on behalf of the big 5 UK supermarkets, will commit to halving the environmental impact of the average UK shopping basket by 2030 through a new partnership with WWF called ‘basket measures’ – the aim is to turn the food and agriculture system from a driver of climate change into a nature hero by cutting negative impacts and boosting regenerative agriculture to restore nature. It will focus on seven key themes, climate change, deforestation, sustainable agriculture, sustainable diets, marine, waste and packaging.

Ocean protection:

  • The UK announced a £6m investment in the World Bank’s PROBLUE as part of its Blue Planet Fund, supporting the development of the blue economy to act as a key driver of growth in small island developing states (SIDS) and coastal least developed countries. 
  • The Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance, a multi-sector collaboration designed to drive investment into coastal natural capital by pioneering ground-breaking finance products that incentivise blended finance and private investment, hosted a roundtable yesterday that saw commitments towards the partnership’s target to secure at least $20m USD.