A new multi-million pound fund launched today will help protect rainforests equivalent to an area the size of Wales, cut millions of tonnes of carbon emissions and improve the lives of over 600,000 people in tropical forest communities across Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Through the newly launched Mobilising Finance for Forests Programme, the British Government will invest £150 million for businesses and investors who support and deliver sustainable land-use projects and protect rainforest regions like the Amazon and Indonesian basins in communities vulnerable to climate change.
This is also expected to attract as much as £850 million private investment, support thousands of green jobs across multiple sectors, such as agriculture, food, and technology in these regions, and is predicted to provide 23% of the reduction in carbon emissions and climate impacts needed over the next decade to meet the goals set in the Paris Agreement.
The projects that could benefit include those that promote transparent supply chains and implement deforestation-free standards, supporting an estimated 600,000 small-scale farmers and food producers to incorporate forest protection into agricultural production.
This funding will help to remove 28 million tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere, equivalent to the offsetting London’s entire CO2 emissions annually over the next 15 years, through investing in eco-friendly projects like harvesting nuts, seeds, and coffee sustainably, restoring lost forests, diversifying crops to prevent soil erosion, and launching conservation activities – restoring tropical forests as our most effective and natural carbon capture and storage sinks.
Today’s funding forms part of the UK’s existing commitment of £11.6 billion for international climate finance, which includes the Prime Minister’s recent pledge to spend at least £3 billion to protect nature and precious biodiversity over the next 5 years, of which projects to maintain forests will be a major part.
Energy Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said:
International Environment Minister Lord Goldsmith said:
More than a quarter of the world’s population rely on forest resources for their livelihoods, including providing more than 13 million green jobs. Rainforests are also habitats for a vast array of plants and animals and safeguard the planet’s resilience to climate change, including storing carbon dioxide in tree trunks, roots and soil. Through unsustainable approaches like deforestation, the world has lost one-third of its forests since the last ice age – an area twice the size of the United States, releasing a predicted one fifth of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
By 2030, the global transition to sustainable food and land use will be worth £1.8 trillion annually. This will help 1.5 billion people come out of poverty and feed an additional 2.2 billion by 2050, while protecting valuable natural resources being cleared to make way for grazing animals and to grow crops.
COP26 President Alok Sharma said:
The programme is being delivered in partnership with the Netherlands’ Development Finance Institution, which will aim to co-invest up to £36 million of its own capital in project.
Executive Director of Tropical Forest Alliance Justin Adam said:
Chief Executive Green Finance Institute Dr Rhian-Mari Thomas OBE said:
The government’s International Climate Finance (ICF) programme plays a key role in supporting the growth of innovative sustainable farming and forestry businesses globally. In 2019, UK ICF programme helped reduce deforestation levels in Colombia by 19% – a great step towards reducing emissions and protecting the people in forests in one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world.
In February 2021, the UK COP26 Presidency also launched the Forest, Agriculture and Commodity Trade (FACT) Dialogue, which will bring together key countries exporting agricultural products and the countries consuming these products to discuss how to make this process greener and more sustainable. The dialogue will run up to COP26 and beyond.
Through the government’s ICF programme and COP26 presidency, the UK will continue to play a crucial role in addressing the global challenge of climate change internationally in the run up to the COP26 UN Climate Summit in November. Britain is among the largest contributors of public climate finance and the government is committed to providing support which is transparent, transformative and in line with the needs and priorities of developing countries.