UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced, on Monday, that his country will commit at least £3bn, over the next five years, to climate change solutions that protect and restore nature and biodiversity.
The funding will be allocated from the UK’s existing commitment of £11.6bn for international climate finance. It aims to deliver transformational change in protecting biodiversity-rich land and ocean, whilst aiding a shift to sustainable food production and supply, and supporting the livelihoods of the world’s poorest.
Johnson made the announcement at One Planet Summit, a leader-level virtual event convened by France. Addressing a session on Financing for Biodiversity, he called upon other states to raise their level of ambition on funding and to mobilise public and private finance for sustainable solutions to climate change.
The UK’s Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, and President of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), Alok Sharma, also convened a roundtable on Clean Power Transition. The roundtable took place with the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday, bringing together ministers from eight African and European countries.
Raab announced that the UK will pledge up to £38m to the Climate Compatible Growth programme, supporting developing countries to accelerate their transition to green energy while growing their economies.
Together, these announcements address the two leading sources of global emissions, electricity generation and land use. They also demonstrate the UK’s leadership in fighting climate change ahead of the COP26 summit in Glasgow in November.
“We will not achieve our goals on climate change, sustainable development or preventing pandemics if we fail to take care of the natural world that provides us with the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe,” Johnson said, “The UK is already leading the way in this area, committing to protect 30% of our land and ocean by the end of the decade and pledging at least £3bn to supporting nature and biodiversity.”
Sharma added, “We have seen ambitious commitments from across the world to net zero targets to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, but targets can only be met through action.”
“We must preserve nature and our biodiversity, and move more quickly from coal to clean power,” he said, “It is fantastic to see billions of pounds pledged to support efforts to reduce deforestation and degradation, and to accelerate the transition to clean energy.”
Sharma also said that, by working together on the road to COP26, faster progress can be made towards a sustainable future for our planet.
Tackling climate change and protecting nature are closely linked, as rising global temperatures and pollution are damaging natural ecosystems, and thriving forests and ocean play a critical role in mitigating climate change.
Agriculture, forest loss, and land-use contribute 23% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Land and coastal marine ecosystems could provide up to a third of the climate mitigations needed to meet the targets set out in the Paris Agreement.
The Monday announcement on funding for nature is the latest in a series of concrete actions the government has taken to address this crisis.
In September, the UK Prime Minister signed the Leaders Pledge for Nature at the UN General Assembly, an initiative pioneered by the UK and now signed by 82 countries. In addition, the UK has funded the Blue Belt Programme to protect vulnerable ocean ecosystems.
It joined Norway and Germany, five years ago, in pledging at least $5bn to reduce deforestation between 2015 and 2020, exceeding the target by the end of last year.
The UK has also been working together with Egypt to reduce the effects of climate change. UK and Egyptian partnership at the 2019 UN Climate Summit on adaptation and mitigation brought 118 countries on board.
As a regional leader, Egypt will have a key role to play in encouraging other countries to step up their commitment and funding for resilience and adaptation, as we look forward towards COP26 in November 2021.