The UK has committed £500m of public money to protect five million hectares of rainforests worldwide from deforestation.
The pledge was made at the COP 26 climate summit in Glasgow, and follows prime minister Boris Johnson calling for an “end to the great chainsaw massacre” after 100 countries signed up to reverse deforestation by 2030.
The United Nations estimates that 420 million hectares of forest have been lost through conversion to new land uses since 1990.
While the rate has decreased over the past three decades, 10 million hectares per year were lost worldwide between 2015 and 2020.
Downing Street has been pushing for new climate pledges to reach net zero carbon emissions and reduce global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees or less.
It argues the funding will create thousands of green jobs in sustainable agriculture throughout rainforest regions and generate £1bn of green private sector investment to tackle climate change across the globe.
The commitment is part of Johnson’s £3 billion package to spend on nature and biodiversity through international climate finance programme.
The government has also outlined a range of new funding commitments, including £40m to establish the Global Centre on Biodiversity for Climate.
It will focus on critical research gaps in conservation and biodiversity, with the aim of delivering climate solutions and improve livelihoods in developing countries.
Meanwhile, £38m will be invested for international agricultural research and £25m to develop supply chains in tropical countries.
The UK is also one of 45 nations to have pledged investment to protect nature and shift to more sustainable ways of farming.
It will also launch its own £65 million rural support programme to help developing countries transition to sustainable methods of agriculture and food production.
UK clean growth, energy and climate change minister Greg Hands said: “Backed by a £500m package of support, today’s historic UK commitment at COP26 will help protect millions of hectares of land, boosting rural communities and forest-friendly businesses, while creating thousands of green jobs across the world’s rainforest regions.”
More to follow…