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Report: More Than 130 World Leaders Pledge To End Deforestation By 2030

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On the third day of the COP26, over 130 world leaders pledged to mark an end to deforestation by 2030 under the Glasgow leaders Declaration on Forest and Land Use. The pledge was supported by the leaders from the US, UK, Canada, Russia, Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, Pakistan, among others. These countries account for around 91% of the global forest resource, and the step taken is being regarded as a huge step for progress towards the conservation of forest resources globally.

 

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The pledge was also supported by 95 high-profile countries from a range of sectors. To make the pledge a reality, it is being backed by around USD 20 billion investment by public and private sector funding.

Where does India stand?

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made five ambitious announcements at Glasgow, including the ambitious goal to reduce the country’s projected carbon emissions by one billion tonnes from now until 2030. India’s commitment of nicely ties in with its Nationally Determined Contributions(NDCs) to create additional sinks of 2.5-3 billion tonnes of CO2eq through forest and tree cover by 2030.

India has been active during the REDD+, a framework created by the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP) to guide activities in the forest sector and has remained engaged in the conversation, and its recent action of India makes a bold stand of the country’s commitment. India is content and acted alone to pursue individual goals instead of progressing or leading the global south.

 

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The current forest cover of India stands at 25 per cent, and the country has a plan to scale it up to 33% of its total area. The country also has multiple policies to protect its verdant forest, and additionally, it has been implementing policies to increase its green cover in the urban area through various incentives. While India is one of the few countries across the globe that has witnessed an increase in forest cover over the years, the future ambition of achieving 33 per cent of the forest cover and creating additional carbon sinks looks faint.

forest cover india

Forest As An Asset

According to the Global Forest Watch, between 1990 to 2020, the world has lost over 170 million hectares of forest. Along with it, what we lost was a vast biodiversity and carbon stock. Forests’ recognition as vital carbon sinks makes them irreplaceable as a resource in this war against climate change.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), one-third of the global emissions are absorbed by the forest. Apart from being an effective sink for GHGs emissions, a quarter of the world’s population relies on the forest for livelihood. The forest provides USD 75-100 billion per year in goods and services to humanity.

Forest resources have played a very crucial role in shaping multiple international negotiations. From a Conference of Parties view, the earlier talks, including the forest resources, started during COP11 in Papua Guinea, where the idea of reducing emission from deforestation was introduced (RED).

Following the conversation in Papua Guinea at COP13 in Bali, the RED was transformed into REDD+ to include forest conservation and sustainable management. While the conversation around RED and REDD+ was indicative of countries’ victory with rich forest reserves, it fizzled with time.

With the emergence of achieving a Net-Zero economy as a sanguine option for climate action, there is no alternative path to achieving it without preserving the planet’s lungs.

 

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A Conundrum For The Global South

Days after being a part of the deforestation pledge, the Indonesia minister voiced its criticism and walked out. The Indonesian Environment Minister, Siti Nurbaya Bakar, called the pledge inappropriate and unfair.

This is not the first time; the global north has lobbied and forced global south countries to accept pledges that are unrealistic enough for a developing economy to adhere to. Allan and Dauvergne argue that the global north needs the global south to preserve and maintain its natural resources to compensate for the environmental losses.

This leverage made the global south a strong voice in the negotiations. However, the recent rising power asymmetries among the global south countries and dissented interest made the voice of the global south more diffused during the negotiations.

Indonesia has been a stronger voice in international negotiations. Learning from its mistake, Indonesia has definitely worked on its strategies to make radical decisions during international negotiations. In contrast, Brazil, which earlier has opposed the concepts of RED and REDD+, has agreed to the pledge.

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        Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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        Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

        Find out more about her campaign here.

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        A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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        A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
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