STATEMENTS ON COP26: Nature took center stage, it’s time to move beyond commitments and take action; Glasgow achieves crucial step in reaching Carbon Trading Rules

November 13, 2021

Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom (November 13, 2021) – Upon the conclusion of COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, Conservation International released the following statements:

Shyla Raghav, Conservation International Vice President of Climate Change:

“Years from now, the 2021 UN climate talks in Glasgow may well be remembered as a turning point — the point at which the Paris Agreement’s aspirations finally began to turn into action. 

“For perhaps the first time, nature took center stage at a COP. The concept that nature is essential to solving the global climate crisis, once advocated by a few forest-rich countries, has become mainstream. Years of strenuous effort — by Conservation International and countless others — to raise the profile and importance of nature within the climate agenda finally paid off. 

“The Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use saw more than 130 countries commit to end forest loss and degradation by 2030. Countries promised to accelerate conservation and restoration of forests and facilitate financing to hasten the transition to a greener economy. Significantly, the private sector also stepped up, in recognition of the imperative for more financing and incentives for nature. More than 30 financial institutions, with assets totaling $8.7 trillion, committed to eliminate commodity-driven deforestation from their portfolios by 2025 – a powerful market signal that will help drive the global shift toward sustainable production and nature-based solutions.

“This was the first COP to truly recognize and elevate the roles of Indigenous peoples and local communities as guardians of forests and nature — and to follow that up with action: Several governments and foundations pledged to invest US$ 1.7 billion to support Indigenous and local efforts to fight climate change and protect biodiversity.

“Conversely, we are disappointed in the lack of an agreement on ‘loss and damage’ from climate impacts. The countries that face the worst and most immediate climate impacts have done the least to cause them, and it is critical for developed countries to acknowledge this and help to shoulder the potentially devastating burdens that developing countries face. What’s more, an initial $100 billion pledge from rich countries for climate finance is just a beginning; the fact that promise couldn’t be fulfilled is a woeful result. 

“Overall, the results of this COP reveal just how much more needs to be done. Looking ahead, Conservation International calls for: 

  • More ambitious country and private-sector plans that align with the 1.5-degree goal;
  • Investors to prioritize high-quality and high-integrity outcomes in carbon markets and support for country-driven approaches;
  • Clearer guidance on net-zero definitions to better direct action from the private sector, which had unprecedented involvement in this COP;
  • Additional financing for adaptation and loss and damage — as mentioned, what we saw is not sufficient and falls short of the need and responsibility;
  • A sustained focus on supporting frontline and Indigenous communities; and
  • Broader participatory processes to operationalize the commitments in Glasgow.

“Conservation International’s work now focuses on accountability and action. Glasgow has set a clear direction — the question is, how fast can we move? Where we go from here is just as important as anything that happened in the past two weeks. Pledges and commitments are important but they’re not enough — they need to translate to impact. We have much work to do.”

Lina Barrera, Conservation International Vice President for International Policy:

“After six years of negotiations, countries participating in COP26 have agreed on how global carbon trading will work to speed climate action. The progress made in Glasgow is a crucial step toward keeping global average temperature rise below 1.5C (2.7F). 

“The rules allowing countries to trade carbon credits with each other, known as Article 6.2, have been agreed with the exception of some operational elements. That means countries now have all the tools they need to ensure high-quality, consistent and transparent climate action through carbon markets. This level of certainty will drive new investments to scale the climate actions we desperately need across all sectors, including halting deforestation and promoting other natural climate solutions. 

“The real winners of this outcome are the communities and organizations working to protect and restore forests. Through increased financial investment, nature-based carbon credits will benefit countries and communities, which reap both the financial and the environmental gains that forests and other high-carbon ecosystems provide. And they will benefit the climate: We need nature to avoid a climate catastrophe.

"With clear rules, we expect to see carbon markets that will reward communities and countries that are doing their part to halt climate change.”


About Conservation International
Conservation International works to protect the critical benefits that nature provides to people. Through science, partnerships and fieldwork, Conservation International is driving innovation and investments in nature-based solutions to the climate crisis, supporting protections for critical habitats, and fostering economic development that is grounded in the conservation of nature. Conservation International works in 30 countries around the world, empowering societies at all levels to create a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable planet. Follow Conservation International's work on Conservation NewsFacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.