Learn Glasgow Declaration 2021 with IFS Vandna Phogat

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This article discusses the Glasgow Declaration along-with role of deforestation, land degradation and LULCC in climate change, climate change mitigation and adaptation in the larger context of the Recently signed Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use at Cop26 Glasgow UK. Comprehensive coverage of The Glasgow declaration is being done here along with its significance for climate change, achieving SDG targets as well as for transition to a more sustainable world which respects rights of vulnerable indigenous and other smaller communities along with biodiversity conservation.

Glasgow Declaration on Forests and Land Use

Leaders at COP26 have signed a landmark agreement to conserve, protect and restore the earth’s forests. It is a commitment from countries to work together to end deforestation and all land degradation within the next decade. Leaders committed $19 billion of public and private funds to “halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030.

This declaration has to be seen in the broader context of climate change targets under Paris agreement because land Use and Climate change are interrelated to each other in the following ways

Land use and land cover change

Land use and land cover change i.e. LULCC leading to climate change

  • Deforestation is a primary contributor to climate change. Land-use changes, especially in the form of deforestation are the second largest anthropogenic source of atmospheric carbon dioxide emissions, after fossil fuel combustion.
  • Improper land uses are the primary causal factor of climate change.


  • Currently, almost a quarter (23 per cent) of global emissions come from land-use activity, such as logging, deforestation and farming.
  • Deforestation and peatland degradation contribute most of the 13% of total human-caused CO2 emissions attributed in the IPCC report to agriculture, forestry and other land uses.
  •  worldwide, nearly 25 per cent of the world’s population — rely on forests for their livelihoods.

Climate change speeds up land degradation and deforestation

  • The interactions between forests and the climate are not just one-way.
  • The IPCC report describes how the health and functioning of individual trees and various forest ecosystems are affected by the increased frequency, severity and duration of extreme weather events such as heatwaves, droughts and floods
  • Forests are also vulnerable to new pests and diseases whose ranges are expanding in warmer temperatures. But the most significant impact of climate change on forests could be increased vulnerability to fire due to longer fire seasons and drought, compounded when combined with deforestation and forest degradation
  • Forest Fires are already a significant source of global emissions, especially when they take place in carbon-rich tropical forests such as those in Indonesia and Brazil.

Role of forests and sustainable land use in climate change mitigation and adaptation

  • IPCC special report acknowledges Deforestation is not only a significant contributor to the current greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions problem, protecting and restoring forests could play an outsized role in the solution
  • According to the report, “reducing deforestation and forest degradation rates represents one of the most effective and robust options for climate change mitigation, with large mitigation benefits globally.” 
  • Forests, being the lungs of our planet, absorb around a third of the global carbon dioxide released from burning fossil fuels every year.

Hence this linkage is reflected in different initiatives related to LULCC and forests. The latest such initiative is the Glasgow declaration

greenhouse-gases-emmissions-sector-wise Image credit: Ourworld in Data

Now let’s discuss in detail the key provision’s objective and significance of The Glasgow declaration

Glasgow declaration

The essence of Glasgow declaration on forest and land use lies in the understanding of the role of forests and sustainable land use in enabling the world to meet the following objectives

  1. Sustainable development goals 2015-30
  2. Change mitigation targets
  3. Climate change adaptation targets
  4. Maintain the health of ecosystem services for sustainable development and sustainability itself.
  5. Biodiversity conservation

Underlying principles of Glasgow declaration

1. Sustainable production and consumption (SDG 12)

2. Infrastructure development; trade; finance; and investment

3. Support for smallholders indigenous people and local communities dependent on the forest for their livelihoods and are key to sustainable development.

Objectives of Glasgow declaration

  • Conservation and restoration
    • Conserve forest and other terrestrial ecosystems and accelerate their restoration.
  • Sustainable development across all sectors
    • Facilitate Trade and development policies internationally and domestically that promote sustainable development and sustainable commodity production and consumption that work two countries mutual benefit and that do not drive deforestation and land degradation.
  • Reduce vulnerability and enhance capabilities
    • Reduce vulnerability, build resilience, enhance rural livelihood through empowering communities,
    • By the development of profitable sustainable agriculture and recognition of the multiple values of forests while recognising the rights of indigenous people as well as local communities under relevant National legislation and international instruments.
  • Climate-smart agriculture
    • Implement and if necessary redesign agricultural policies and programmes to incentivize sustainable agriculture promote food security and benefit the environment.
  • Enhanced financial commitment from public and private sector
    • Reaffirm international financial commitments and significantly increased finance and investment from a wide variety of public and private sources improving its effectiveness and accessibility to enable sustainable agriculture, sustainable forest management, forest conservation and restoration and support for indigenous people and local communities.
  • Robust policies and systems for achieving the above objective
    • Work towards facilitating financial flows with international goals, to reverse forest loss and degradation . Also work toward ensuring robust policies and systems that accelerate the transition to an economy which is resilient and creates sustainable forest land use.

Now lets try to undersand the Glasgow Declaration from different Perspectives

World and Glasgow declaration

India and Glasgow declaration

  • India, Argentina, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and South Africa are the G20 countries that did not sign the declaration.
  • India is not happy with the effort to link infrastructure development and related activities with forest conservation in the Glasgow Declaration’s final text.
  • Linkages proposed between trade, climate change and forest issues was unacceptable to India as it fell under the World Trade Organization.

Significance of Glasgow declaration

  • The Declaration is a landmark commitment from countries to work together to end deforestation and all land degradation within the next decade
  • Ending the damaging land use and Protecting forests is the most crucial task the world can do right now to limit catastrophic global warming, It will also protect the lives and futures of the 1.6 billion people worldwide — that is nearly 25 per cent of the world’s population that rely on forests for their livelihoods. 
  • There is a definite timeline of funding i.e. 2021-2025 The model may become a pioneer in other areas of emission reduction.
  • The money commitment under Glasgow declaration will support activities in developing countries, including restoring degraded land, tackling wildfires and supporting the rights of indigenous communities.
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