COP26 has arrived to refocus international attention and resources where it needs to be to combat climate change: collective, ambitious, committed action to achieve sustainability, equality, and net zero carbon emissions. The Alliance, a collaboration of over 60 environmental organisations, knows how important it is to be united when facing global challenges. Every sector has a part to play in the next phase of mitigating climate change and we can only succeed if we reach out to one another, with determination, good faith, and eyes on the bigger picture, to build a better world hand in hand.

Many Alliance members are participating at COP26, along with two of our ambassadors, Irene Ojuok and Kaluki Paul Mutuku, and director Karen Fawcett. Every day they will be sharing their insights, observations, and thoughts with you as they engage with world leaders, scientists, company directors, and environmental representatives from around the world.

To kick off these pivotal two weeks, here is a note from Alliance Director Karen Fawcett, on her way to COP26.

Sitting on a train to Glasgow from a stunning blue sky in London to grey and wet midlands, passing through miles of the North Yorkshire moors and Scottish Borders with fields scalped hundreds of years ago for sheep farming, it is impossible to ignore how significantly we impact the Earth thoughtlessly, and how much potential there is to reverse it if we act with purpose. It’s tempting to think restoration is only for rural areas, but we shouldn’t limit our imagination – there is a huge scope for Regreening in the UK!

I am honoured and excited to be representing the Global EverGreening Alliance at COP26. I am so sorry that Chris Armitage (CEO) and Dennis Garrity (Chairman) could not travel this year and I promise to lay the groundwork for COP27 when we can all be there in force!

We have an exciting message which fits perfectly with the current narrative of equal focus on emissions reduction and removal. The Alliance, through its 60+ members, can now call on over 70,000 people across the world – effectively the world’s largest Regreening multinational! This makes Regreening not only a reality but allows us to make it happen fast, creating a massive impact well before 2030 on almost every continent (unless anyone has ideas for Greening Up Antarctica?). In addition, our philosophy of working with farmers on their land, making them more self-sufficient and resilient for future climate changes and sharing the benefits of any carbon revenues presents a compelling proposition, avoiding the challenges common to previous large-scale efforts. This philosophy has already benefited millions of farmers across the world.

I will be joined by Irene and Kaluki and am excited to learn from their experience. My time in the banking sector covered a lot of countries in Africa and helped finance thousands of farmers but the experience was nothing like their hands-on expertise!

More when I arrive. It will be a mad dash to get my badge, get a feel of the venue for the AFR100 event, where we are speaking tomorrow about our latest major programme ‘Restore Africa’. The project will impact 2 million farmer households over 2 million hectares of land in East Africa. Then to dinner to meet our largest investor for the first time in person. We started discussing their possible involvement in September 2020 – just over a year ago in the middle of COVID. An amazing amount has been achieved in a year over screens. It will be fabulous to finally meet and say thank you…even if we still should not be shaking hands!

My aim this week is to thank current investors and then finalise more private and public sector involvement. We have projects worth over $1 billion in design that can easily be invested in land restoration of all types over the next 5 years. Every $1 invested in land restoration yields a $30 return so no wonder more and more sectors want to get involved!

Thank you for taking this journey with us,

Karen Fawcett.

If you’ve been with us for a while, you know our biggest, wildest ambition is to Green Up to Cool Down. Our goal is to scale up nature based solutions, with a specific focus on regenerative farming practices like agroforestry, to capture 20 billion tons of carbon emissions annually. This year at COP26, we want to bring attention to the incredible potential nature-based solutions have to significantly reduce emissions and get the world closer to net zero faster. These solutions are cheap, adaptable, and directly benefit those least responsible for global emissions. Turning pledges into movement, and galvanising concrete action on the ground to EverGreen our world is what the Alliance is all about. We won’t let you down! Let’s make this the decade of action!

Check in tomorrow for more news from the frontline, and follow our socials for updates throughout the day from COP26.