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Cop26: world leaders agree deal to end deforestation

World leaders

Cop26: world leaders agree deal to end deforestation

World leaders have agreed a deal that aims to halt and reverse global deforestation over the next decade as part of a multibillion-dollar package to tackle human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.

Xi Jinping, Jair Bolsonaro and Joe Biden are among the world leaders who will commit to the declaration at Cop26 in Glasgow on Tuesday to protect vast areas, ranging from the eastern Siberian taiga to the Congo basin, home to the world’s second largest rainforest.

Land-clearing by humans accounts for almost a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions, largely deriving from the destruction of the world’s forests for agricultural products such as palm oil, soy and beef.

By signing the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forest and Land Use, presidents and prime ministers from major producers and consumers of deforestation-linked products will commit to protect forest ecosystems.

Boris Johnson will unveil the agreement at an event attended by the US president, Joe Biden, the Prince of Wales and the Indonesian president, Joko Widodo. He is expected to say: “These great teeming ecosystems – these cathedrals of nature – are the lungs of our planet. Forests support communities, livelihoods and food supply, and absorb the carbon we pump into the atmosphere. They are essential to our very survival.”

The commitment on nature and forests comes as more than 120 world leaders came together in Glasgow to thrash out fresh commitments on cutting greenhouse gas emissions, amid concerns that key countries have failed to step up.

On a day devoted to speeches by presidents and prime ministers that underlined the scale of the challenges ahead, Johnson said future generations “will judge us with bitterness” if the conference fails. Other key moments included:

India pledged to reach net zero emissions by 2070. Although it is the first time the world’s third biggest polluter has set this target, and experts said it was a realistic commitment, it is 20 years behind the 2050 date set agreed by other developed countries.

President Biden warned that greater urgency was needed at the talks: “Right now, we are falling short. There’s no time to hang back, sit on the fence or argue amongst ourselves.”

António Guterres, the UN secretary general, said the world was being driven to the brink by an addiction to fossil fuels. “We are fast approaching tipping points that will trigger escalating feedback loops of global heating,” he warned.

In a recorded message, the Queen called on leaders to “rise above the politics of the moment, and achieve true statesmanship”. She added: “Of course, the benefits of such actions will not be there to enjoy for all of us here today: we none of us will live forever. But we are doing this not for ourselves but for our children and our children’s children, and those who will follow in their footsteps.”

Following his own speech, Johnson provoked some ridicule by admitting he would fly home rather than take the train.

Shortly before, he had told a roundtable of leaders of developing nations: “When it comes to tackling climate change, words without action, without deeds are absolutely pointless.”

The commitments on deforestation are an early win for the UK, which as host nation bears responsibility for forging a consensus among the nearly 200 countries present, amid concerns that an overall commitment on cutting greenhouse gas emissions by the 45% scientists say is needed this decade will fall short.

The political declaration, which is voluntary and not part of the Paris process, is one of a range of side deals that the UK presidency is pushing for at the climate summit in Glasgow alongside others on methane, cars and coal.

The package includes £5.3bn of new private finance and £8.75bn of public funding for restoring degraded land, supporting indigenous communities, protecting forests and mitigating wildfire damage.

A pledge from CEOs to eliminate activities linked to deforestation, and £1.5bn funding from the UK government for forests, are also part of the deal. £350m of that will go to Indonesia and £200m to the Congo basin, with a new £1.1bn fund for the west African rainforest.

While the forestry agreement has been cautiously welcomed by ecologists and forest governance experts, they point to previous deals to save forests that have so far failed to stop their destruction, including in 2014. But this time, the EU, China and the US alongside major forested countries like Brazil, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Papua New Guinea will all sign the commitment.

Many details need to be clarified, particularly how the money is spent, according to Carlos Rittl, who works on Brazil for the Rainforest Foundation Norway. “Big cheques won’t save the forests if the money doesn’t go into the right hands,” he said, emphasising that it should go to indigenous groups and other who are committed to protecting the forest.

In a separate announcement, at least £1.25bn of funding will be given directly to indigenous peoples and local communities by governments and philanthropists for their role in protecting forests.

But the promised funds still fall far short of what some believe is needed. “We are undervalued and our rights are still not respected,” said Mina Setra, an indigenous rights activist from Borneo. “A statement is not enough. We need evidence, not only words.”

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Environment

F.G’s Dangote Flood Committee Shares N1.5b Relief Materials To Flood Victims

The Dangote-led Presidential Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation (PCFRR), known as Dangote Flood Committee has distributed N1.5 billion relief materials to victims of flooding nationwide.

The PCFRR, which was established by the Federal Government following the 2012 flooding, is co-chaired by Africa’s foremost industrialist Aliko Dangote and Dr. Olisa Agbakoba.

The flagging off ceremony for the relief materials distribution for this year started in Borno State and was conducted by the State Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum Tuesday in Maiduguri, Borno State capital. The Governor thanked the Dangote Flood Committee and promised that he will ensure that the items get to the victims.

UNICEF revealed that the 2022 flood killed 600 people, displaced 1.3 million and destroyed more than 82,000 homes in Nigeria, therefore making it the worst in decades.

The representative of the committee, Alhaji Umar Musa Gulani, assured at the flagging off for the Northeast zone that the exercise would also be conducted in the other five geopolitical zones of the country.

Gulani said the items from the committee have been officially handed over to the Borno State Government and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). He said the exercise would be conducted across the six geo-political zones, beginning from the northeastern State of Borno.

The breakdown of items donated includes 86 bags of rice, 34 bags of beans, 34 bags of maize, 34 bags of millet, 34 bags of Guinea Corn, 34 bags of Garri, 86 cartons of noodles, 86 cartons of spaghetti, 86 cartons of macaroni and 86 bags of sugar, and 857 bags of cement, among several food and non-food items.

Gulani said over N10 billion has been expended by the committee to mitigate the effect of flooding since inception in 2012, adding that no fewer than 84 Hostels have been built for flood victims in 24 states of Nigeria. According to him: “This private sector led project is highly commendable and it has been sustained in the past ten years. It is a selfless service from the private sector and Nigerians should appreciate their selfless service to humanity”.

Director General of NEMA Alhaji Mustapha Habib Ahmed described the Committee’s intervention as a milestone for Nigeria in general, and flood victims in particular. “Responding to the humanitarian outcomes of this nature requires concerted effort,” the DG said, and added that the donation by the Dangote Flood Committee would eventually be made available to flood victims across the affected states in Nigeria.

Speaking on behalf of the victims, Khalifa El-Miskin said the victims were extremely appreciative of the gesture.

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Environment

600 Persons Killed, 1.3m Displaced By Floods – UNICEF

The United Nations Children’s Fund has said at least that 600 persons died and 1.3 million others rendered homeless by floods.

This was disclosed by the Chief of UNICEF Field Office, Enugu, Juliet Chiluwe, on Saturday, during an official handover of supplies for Anambra State Flood Response from UNICEF to Anambra State Government

Ms Chiluwe said the figure was obtained according to government data available it received.

During the visit by the UNICEF, the first set of supplies of 100 drums of chlorine for disinfection of water sources, 40 cartons of Aquatabs for household water treatment and 320 cartons of Ready to Use Therapeutic food were handed over to the state governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, who was represented by his deputy, Onyekachukwu Ibezim.

The UNICEF official said, “We acknowledged that since September 2022, the worst floods in a decade affected 2.8 million people, of which an estimated 60 per cent are children, across 34 of the 36 states in Nigeria. Of those affected, 1.3 million people have been displaced, and over 600 people have died in relation to flooding according to government data.

“Continuous heavy rains have collapsed hundreds of public health facilities, water systems and sanitation facilities, increasing the risk of waterborne diseases, such as cholera, diarrhoea, and malaria.

“To contribute to the effort of government and other development partners, UNICEF, with funding the Central Emergency Response Fund, has initiated a multisectoral response comprising Health, Child Protection and WASH sectors, to mitigate the impact of the floods support the early recovery-phase of the affected population in Anambra State.“

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Environment

Dantata, Rabiu, Others Gift Jigawa Flood Victims N1b

Nigerian businessman and philanthropist, Alhaji Aminu Dantata, and Abdulsamad Rabiu, the founder of BUA group, on Saturday raised over N1 billion for Jigawa flood victims.

The donations were made in Dutse at the fund raising in support of the 2022 flood victims in the state.

Dantata and Rabiu each donated N200 million, Jigawa State Government N250 million, Gov. Muhammad Badaru, donated N25 million on behalf of himself, family and his company, Talamis Group.

However, Dantata, who was represented by Alhaji Salisu Sambajo, expressed concern over the conditions in which the flood victims found themselves after the disaster.

The philanthropist prayed for those who died during the disaster and sympathised with those who lost their property and crops in the floods.

Similarly, Badaru also expressed appreciation to the teeming donors for their kind gesture and urged the fund raising committee to be equitable and just in the distribution of the palliatives and cash.

The committee Chairman, Alhaji Bashir Dalhatu, (Wazirin Dutse) and former Minister of Power, thanked individuals and group of companies for supporting the victims.

Other donors included the members of the state and National Assembly as well as Council Chairmen.

Zenith Bank, Jaiz Bank, FCMB, Sterling Bank, GTBANK and Unity Bank were among the financial institutions who made donations.

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