COP26 day 3 was quite the day.

It began with our first event, A New Phase for AFR100: Accelerating Africa’s Land Restoration Movement, in partnership with the World Resources Institute, AFR100, The International Union for Conservation of Nature, and the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD). Africa is already experiencing the disastrous effects of climate change on ecosystems, soil health, and temperature stability. It is where large scale land restoration will dramatically, and quickly, improve lives and build resilience to future climate events. Six years ago, 32 African governments committed to restore over 100 million hectares of degraded land, and thousands of grassroots, community based organisations have been working on the ground to turn pledges into a difference ever since.

It has shown that ambitious projects like this require equivalent resources to restore the land before desertification gets worse and more people are pushed into poverty and famine. In response, we have developed a large-scale model that facilitates private investment in these vital projects, making it easier for companies to get involved in accelerating nature based solutions.

The Global EverGreening Alliance was able to announce that on Saturday 6 November we will be revealing the details of a $150 million investment into our Restore Africa Programme and that we are indeed stepping up – but we wanted to take a moment to be thankful. Thankful that the private sector is taking climate change seriously. Thankful that the companies which have the resources to scale up restoration projects quickly are stepping up. Thankful for the communities on the ground diligently Greening Up their environment. Thankful for everyone who put their energy and time and research behind nature-based solutions and have shown the world, time and time again, that it is the way we build a better Earth.

As our director Karen Fawcett noted: “The finance section was uplifting – the money coming from large corporations like Bezos Earth Fund and Mastercard is substantial, and if it is invested with the development agencies, then change will happen fast.”

Some other announcements made in the past two days at COP26 that make the future gleam a little brighter are:

  • Over 100 national leaders committed to stop and reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030. 85% of global forests are covered under this commitment and the implications are huge for the future of carbon capture, agricultural management, and Indigenous rights.
  • 12 countries have pledged $12 billion to support developing countries in restoring land, halting further degradation, recovering from climate disasters, and supporting Indigenous groups.
  • Billions of private sector funding has been dedicated to protecting ecosystems and helping economies transition to Green economies and nature based solutions. This includes contributions from the LEAF Coalition, the Bezos Earth Fund, the Nature Capital Investment Alliance, and over 30 financial institutions.
  • The Forest, Agriculture, and Commodity Trade Roadmap for Action was announced. Developed and agreed to by 28 countries, the roadmap will accelerate transitioning to sustainable supply chain management for commodities like soy, leather, paper, and cocoa.
  • Colombia, Indonesia, Monaco, Ecuador, Ghana, and the Democratic Republic of Congo all reached remarkable milestones in land restoration, and committed to scaling up nature based solution projects over the next five years.

These commitments illustrate the significant steps we must take to mitigate climate change, and how fundamentally our lives will change to do so. It also illustrates that we are fully capable of doing so, and that it can be achieved without placing the burden on those least responsible for climate change. We are making choices today that will define the decade, the century, the next 500 years. The steps taken today are just the beginning to change the world for the better, and they are ones we need to build on year after year to create a world that thrives in every sense of the word. With any luck, 2030 will introduce a radically different decade. We’re looking forward to it.

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