The UK is leading 45 governments in making pledges to urgently protect nature and shift to more sustainable ways of farming at COP26.
Around 25% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions derive from agriculture, forestry and other land use – which has led to the industry being considered critical to protect.
The focus on agriculture follows the pledge of more than 100 governments to end deforestation by 2030 earlier this week.
The 45 governments in question have agreed to implement new policies and fund further research and innovation to uncover more sustainable ways to farm, protecting ecosystems and biodiversity in the process.
The pledge includes the leveraging of more than $4 billion (£3.5bn) of public sector investment to fund new innovations to make farming more efficient, cost-productive and environmentally friendly.
The UK has committed to providing £500 million to protect five million hectares of rainforests from deforestation – an amount of land equal to 3.5 million football pitches.
As part of Boris Johnson’s pledge to help developing nations in their quest to tackle climate change, £25 million will be given to tropical countries to develop sustainable supply chains and £40 million will be used to establish the Global Centre on Biodiversity for Climate; aiming to boost conservation work and enhance biodiversity protection in more vulnerable countries.
George Eustace, Environment Secretary, said: “To keep 1.5° alive, we need action from every part of society, including an urgent transformation in the way we manage ecosystems and grow, produce and consume food on a global scale.
“We need to put people, nature and climate at the core of our food systems. The UK government is leading the way through our new agricultural system in England, which will incentivise farmers to farm more sustainably, create space for nature on their land and reduce carbon emissions.
“There needs to be a fair and just transition that protects the livelihoods and food security of millions of people worldwide – with farmers, indigenous people and local communities playing a central role in these plans.”