The EU Green Deal is an unprecedented package of legislative measures aimed at making the EU climate neutral by 2050. But as is often the case, how seismic policy changes are implemented across 27 countries in a way that is practical, feasible and achievable, is where the real challenge lies. Nature-based solutions are becoming an […]
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LAND USE: PROTECTING WHAT WE HAVE AND RESTORING WHAT WE’VE LOST
It is 2050 and aerial photos reveal a verdant planet full of healthy forests, thriving wetlands, bountiful grassland biomes and sustainable farmland. This remarkable picture of natural abundance is the direct result of years of conscientious sustainable land management.
One of the first – and most obvious – steps that governments took was to crack down on deforestation and to restore land that had been degraded. By 2030, this twin policy had already seen an impressive 350 million hectares under restorative actions. Emissions from primary forest loss and land degradation fell precipitously as a result, and the land has become more resilient. Local communities and indigenous people’s land rights are recognized and protected.
None of this would have been possible without major changes to our agriculture and food systems. Farmers quickly adopted climate-smart technologies and regenerative agroecological practices because of the long-term productivity, biodiversity and ecosystem services they bring. The world’s growing population has access to nutritious food due to the changes in the food systems. Agricultural emissions have also been consistently coming down thanks to sustainable livestock, and soil health management increasing land’s capacity to sequester carbon.
Facilitating this shift towards Net Zero land use is the ongoing financial support for and investment in nature-based solutions to land protection and restoration. As early as 2030, annual investment had already reached US$100 billion. Market and regulatory incentives spurred shifts towards lower emissions from land-use based industries. Having accurate land-use monitoring tools was key to ensure this investment went towards the most impactful activities. With each passing year, the diverse benefits from regenerative, climate-smart land management manifest more and more.
- Introduce mandatory corporate disclosure, and mitigation hierarchy requirements for companies operating in commodity markets at high risk of deforestation and other forms of land degradation, by 2025.
- Ensure forest and land-use legislative, policy and governance frameworks are in place in all countries, jurisdictions and indigenous territories to promote integrated and sustainable land and forest management, by 2025.
- Support public-private partnerships that train, support and incentivise smallholders and local communities to manage their land as sustainably as possible.
- Integrate the full value of ecosystem services from forests and other natural landscapes into all business decisions, by 2025.
- Deliver on commitments to end losses to primary forests and to other natural ecosystems such as mangroves, peatlands, grasslands and savannas, by 2030.
- Reduce emissions linked to agricultural sectors by 15 % by 2040 and by 25 % in 2050, which includes cutting the emissions of livestock by 20 % by 2030 and 30 % by 2040.
- Champion the development and wide-scale uptake of a global carbon market that trades credits for nature-based solutions with transparency and environmental integrity (including REDD+), by 2025.
- Design and deliver innovative financial products that promote climate-smart, agroecological practices, and work with governments and funders to design appropriate financial mechanisms to the same end, by 2030.
- Ensure that robust internal compliance mechanisms are in place to guarantee loan finance and other forms of capital never support unsustainable land-use practices.
- Support public-private partnerships efforts to develop stronger climate information, monitoring and early-warning systems for agricultural producers and land managers by 2030.
- Help design more effective ways of delivering cutting-edge agricultural extension services and work closely with research institutes and others to accelerate their roll-out in the field, by 2025.
- Build on emerging science to enhance existing agricultural solutions and create new technological innovations that increase farmers’ yields without causing emissions to rise, by 2040.
- Work with food companies and other businesses that heavily depend on natural resources to fully disclose their land-use impacts and to commit to meaningful certification programmes.
- Rethink food shopping and cooking habits in support of the global effort to halve the amount of food that is unnecessarily and avoidably wasted.
- Support conservation groups that are active in protecting and restoring degraded land and/or are vocal in promoting the uptake of Net Zero, nature-based approaches to land management.