Finally, Nature’s COP

After long anticipation, the 26th edition of the UN Climate Conference is now concluded and we find ourselves struggling to sum up everything that has happened over the last eleven days in Glasgow, United Kingdom, and the repercussions it has had across the planet. One thing is clear: nature is now a key part of the climate conversation. We’ve seen an unprecedented moment where world leaders, financial institutions and companies have come together to finally put a stop to deforestation, with meaningful commitments that add up to over 20 billion US dollars supporting preserving and sustainably interacting with our ecosystems. Word of nature-based solutions was heard across and beyond the Halls of the Blue Zone and ultimately made its way into the final decision text.

While we are still looking forward to increased ambition on NDCs and clear frameworks that ensure transparent, reliable and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement, we leave Glasgow this Friday, November 12 2021 with reasons for optimism. And a lot of work to do.

The Nature Zone was a microcosm of nature’s place in the climate ecosystem. Some incredibly rich discussions were led by the distinguished panellists in our 70 events, featuring Ministers, CEOs, scientific experts, climate activists and community representatives all dedicated to leading the world to become Nature Positive by 2030. Another 200 events featured nature-based solutions as a theme across the Blue Zone.

This has also been the first COP to further recognise and advance the roles and rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPLC) as guardians of forests and nature, providing pledges that include $1.7 billion of climate finance dedicated to such stewards of nature. It was inspiring to see so many diverse indigenous voices taking the stage throughout the conference. Yet, it is critical that we continue to engage and learn from them, as well as ensure that this money is spent effectively and directly supports Indigenous and local communities.

NatureTech was another exciting surprise that brought together leading scientists and entrepreneurs at COP to discuss how technology advances and other forms of innovation – whether that’s satellite monitoring, drone technology, AI, genomic sequencing, blockchain and new business models – can help to unlock the potential of nature-based solutions and move us towards a nature-positive future.

Overall, our message was heard. The first 7 days featured more than 4,000 articles mentioning COP26 and nature. The Nature’s Newsroom, a bold and ambitious new platform to amplify diverse voices for nature, carried out 120 interviews which were sent through the Eurovision network to broadcasters worldwide. Digital assets from the Nature Positive campaign were seen on and off-site, shared on social media. Our weekly newsletter turned daily and found its way to hundreds of new inboxes in addition to our thousands of regular subscribers.

As we look towards Egypt to host the next UN Climate Conference next year, we expect further recognition and meaningful action to address the interlinked global crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, and the critical role of protecting, conserving and restoring nature and ecosystems in delivering benefits for climate adaptation and mitigation, while ensuring social and environmental safeguards.

This was a historic moment. Now it’s time for the world to turn words into action.

To keep up with everything that has happened in Glasgow, our daily briefings are available in Nature4Climate’s Newsroom. To keep up to date with nature’s place in the race to 1.5, subscribe here to our Newsletter.

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