Nature-based solutions: A summary of announcements and developments during the UN Climate Action Summit and Climate Week
Tuesday 24th September
“I think what is extraordinary is how far we have come in just two years, mainstreaming nature-based solutions. We’re also clearer than ever that nature is critical to solve the climate change. There is no pathway to 1.5 degrees without nature. The macro story is still really, really challenging. But you make change by joining the dots of all the different great initiatives, the great projects, and the wonderfully motivated individuals who are doing important work all around the world,” said Justin Adams, Director of the Tropical Forest Alliance.
As the UN Climate Action Summit came to a conclusion, 70 countries said they will come up with tougher national contributions in 2020. Groups of investors, including insurance giant Allianz, committed to carbon-neutral investment portfolios by 2050, and new funding was announced for climate change adaptation and mitigation. And nature? How did it do? N4C has tracked NBS announcements; please do email us if something is missing.
- The NBS Coalition has expanded to 32 countries plus the EU Commission, and 8 private sector groups and coalitions, and 21 civil society organizations and coalitions.
- A new alliance for forests was announced by President Macron along with Colombia’s Ivan Duque and Chile’s Sebastian Piñera, to protect the Amazon and other tropical forests with support from Germany, Norway, Peru and Conservation International. The plan, officially launched on the margins of the UN General Assembly, includes aid by international donors, such as $100 million (90.7 million euros) from the French government and $20 million from Conservation International.
- The Amazon Sacred Headwater Initiative called to permanently protect 74 million acres of tropical rainforests of the headwaters of the mighty Amazon River – the Napo, Pastaza, and Marañon River Basins of Ecuador and Peru.
- Costa Rica, the Seychelles, Mozambique, Gabon, the UAE and Monaco committed to a new High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People to protect 30% of the planet’s natural systems by 2030.
- Germany, Norway and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland reiterated their support for REDD+ commiting US$1 billion per year by 2020 or US$5 billion in the period 2015-2020 for countries with ambitious plans to halt and reverse deforestation. The three governments called upon all partners to raise ambition by the end of 2020 to unlock the potential of forests, also stating they stand ready to continue contributing significant funding for forest countries.
- Launch of the Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance. Its members, responsible for directing more than US$ 2.4 trillion in investments, committed to carbon-neutral investment portfolios by 2050. The Alliance was initiated by Allianz, Caisse des Dépôts, La Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), Folksam Group, PensionDanmark and Swiss Re at the beginning of 2019. Since then, Alecta, AMF, CalPERS, Nordea Life and Pension, Storebrand, and Zurich have joined as founding members.
- The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) launched a new initiative with 19 agriculture-centric companies, as part of an effort to protect and restore biodiversity within their supply chains and product portfolios. This coalition – named “One Planet Business for Biodiversity” (OP2B) – was formally launched on stage at the United Nations Climate Action Summit by Emmanuel Faber, Chairman and CEO of the global food and beverage company Danone.
- The World Bank and Germany announced the launch of PROGREEN, a new global partnership to boost efforts to stop deforestation; restore degraded lands; improve livelihoods in poor, rural communities; and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Germany is contributing 200 million Euros to kickstart the program.
- The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Bank announced, along with several governments, financial commitments of $790 million and assistance to enhance resilience of more than 300 million small-scale food producers in the face of mounting climate impacts.
- Through the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI), Norway will pay $150 million to Gabonto reduce greenhouse gas emissions and battle deforestation. This makes Gabon the first African country to be paid to preserve its rainforest with international funds.
National commitments (alphabetical order)
- Barbados: Committed to plant 1 million trees by end of 2020 (on 166 square miles) and calling on all bajans wherever they may be living around the world, to come and help.
- Colombia: Colombia has committed to restoring an additional 300,000ha (about 180 million trees) of forest by 2022. Also an additional 900,000 ha of agro-forestry and sustainable forest management.
- Democratic Republic of Congo: DRC committed to stabilize forest cover at 60%.
- Ethiopia: Ethiopia reaffirmed its commitment to planting 4 billion new trees a year.
- Fiji: Affirmed commitment to plant 1 million new trees and exploring opportunity to plant 31 million more.
- Guatemala: Guatemala aims to restore 1.5m ha of forested land by 2022, noting $100m invested so far.
- Hungary: Wants to increase forest cover by 30% by 2030
- Kenya: Emphasized the country’s efforts to shift to renewable energy and a commitment to plant two billion trees by 2022
- New Zealand: New Zealand has committed to plant one billion trees by 2028, with 150 million already in the ground. Farming leaders have made their own commitment to cut emissions from food production, and the government promised that over the next 5 years they will collaborate to build systems that every farmer will be able to use to measure, manage and reduce their own farm’s emissions. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern further stated that New Zealand would become “the most sustainable food producer in the world.”
- Nigeria: Intends to employ youth to plant 25 million trees.
- Pakistan: Pakistan reaffirmed its commitment (as mentioned in their submission to the NBS track) to planting 10 billion new trees in next 5 years. This is on top of the 1.1 billion new trees already planted.
- Sierra Leone: Sierra Leone committed to planting 2 million trees by 2023.
- United Kingdom: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced up to £1bn of funding to develop new technologies aimed at tackling climate change in developing countries, as well as £175m to help protect 1bn people around the world from the effects of extreme weather. Johnson has also trailed plans for a new £220m fund to save endangered animals such as the African elephant and Sumatran tiger from extinction.