More than 100 countries were due on Tuesday to pledge to end deforestation, which scientists say is one of the main drivers of climate change.
Britain hailed this commitment as the first major achievement of the UN climate conference in Glasgow. But activists say they need to see the details – such promises have already been made and not kept.
The UK government said it had received a pledge from leaders representing more than 85 percent of the world’s forests to stop and reverse deforestation by 2030.
More than $ 19 billion in public and private funds have been pledged to the plan, which is backed by countries like Brazil, China, Colombia, Congo, Indonesia, Russia and the United States.
Forests are considered important ecosystems and an important means of absorbing carbon dioxide – the main greenhouse gas – from the atmosphere.
But the value of timber as a commodity and the growing demand for agricultural and pastoral land is leading to widespread and often illegal logging of forests, especially in developing countries.
The Human Rights Watch campaign group warned that similar deals in the past had not been effective.
Luciana Tellez Chavez, an environmental researcher at the group, said strengthening the rights of indigenous peoples would help prevent deforestation and should be part of the deal.
Alison Hoare, senior researcher at policy think tank Chatham House, said world leaders pledged in 2014 to end deforestation by 2030, “but since then deforestation has accelerated in many countries.” .
“This new commitment recognizes the range of actions needed to protect our forests, including finance, support for rural livelihoods and strong trade policies,” she said. âFor this to be successful, inclusive processes and fair legal frameworks will be needed, and governments must work with civil society, businesses and indigenous peoples to accept, monitor and implement them. “
About 130 world leaders are in Glasgow for the summit of COP26, which the British host says is the last realistic chance to keep global warming 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels – the goal the world settled in Paris six years ago.
On Monday, leaders heard stern warnings from officials and activists. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has described global warming as “an apocalyptic device” attached to humanity. UN Secretary General AntÃ³nio Guterres told his colleagues that humans “dig our own graves”.
And Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, speaking on behalf of vulnerable island nations, added moral thunder, warning leaders not to “let the path of greed and selfishness sow the seeds of our common destruction â.
Climate activist Greta Thunberg told a rally outside the high-security climate facility that the speech inside was “blah blah blah” and would not add much .
“Change will not come from within,” she told some of the thousands of protesters who have come to Glasgow to make their voices heard. “It’s not leadership, it’s leadership. This is what leadership looks like.”