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How COP26 can help prevent climate catastrophe

Mini

More than 100 world leaders in the COP26 climate summit have signed a declaration committed to halting and reversing deforestation by 2030. Among these, 28 countries have committed to removing deforestation from the global trade of food and other agricultural products.

How COP26 can help prevent climate catastrophe
The 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) at Glasgow is a key moment for climate action. World leaders have gathered at the conference to understand and find ways to avert a climate catastrophe. Ambitious efforts are being initiated to reverse global warming. Now it is up to the different nations to execute the decisions they have committed to.
Here’s our lowdown on the climate summit so far. COP26 is on till November 12.
Deforestation
More than 100 world leaders at the COP26 climate summit have signed a declaration committed to halting and reversing deforestation by 2030. Among these, 28 countries have committed to removing deforestation from the global trade of food and other agricultural products.
Globally traded commodities such as beef, soy, palm oil and timber are the leading drivers of deforestation. More than 30 financial companies, including Axa and Aviva, have also pledged to end investments in activities related to deforestation.
There are reasons to be cheerful about these commitments, especially as China, Brazil and Europe are the key signatories supporting the pledge.
Brazil, where vast stretches of the Amazon rainforest have been cleared, has been criticised for driving forest loss to make space for animals to graze or crops to grow. Deforestation in Brazil rose to a 12-year high in 2020, according to data. Meanwhile, China and Europe are the major consumers of soya produced in Brazil. The partnership inked at the COP26 between major producers and consumer countries will try to break the link between deforestation and agricultural commodities.
“Protecting our forest is not only a course of action for tackling climate change but also for a more prosperous future,” UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.
Biodiversity
Biodiversity is key to conserving forests and sustainable land use. At the COP26, the signatories committed to protection and restoration of natural areas. This gains significance as another ‘Conference of the Parties’ dedicated to biodiversity virtually took place between October 11 and 15 this year and will happen in-person in Kunming, China, from April 25 to May 8, 2022. Till now, both these conferences acted independently of each other. But several actors have emphasised the necessity of addressing the two issues together.
Conservation of natural areas such as oceans, parks, forests and wildernesses for the future is crucial to safeguarding the ecosystems on which humans depend.
Indigenous people
The COP26 announced a $1.7-billion funding for indigenous people and local communities for playing a key role in protecting the lands and forests.
Campaigners are hoping this conference would be the first to champion the rights of indigenous people, who are increasingly facing persecution for publicly voicing their rights. The Guardian reported that in 2020, nearly 227 people were killed trying to protect land, forests, rivers and other ecosystems. Among those killed, more than a third were from the indigenous communities, who account for only 5 percent of the world population.
The COP26 calls for countries to “recognise” and “support” the rights of indigenous people.
Children’s rights
Climate change is a threat to one billion children who are vulnerable to environmental shocks due to lack of essential services like water and sanitation, healthcare and education, a recent report by the United Nations Children’s Fund said.
The UNICEF has urged the COP to accelerate mitigation efforts to reverse the impacts of climate change so that it is not too late for the children of today. Efforts must include improvement of critical services such as water, sanitation and hygiene systems, health and education services.
Although not specifically mentioned at the COP26, children will be the major beneficiaries of this conference.
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