COP27: Greener Finance for a Greener Future
As COP27 – the UN’s annual climate conference – draws to a close, we reflect on the outcomes and results of this year’s meeting, and what it could mean for land management and green finance going forward.
Before COP27 began, it was clear that agriculture must be part of the agenda for improving the climate and biodiversity levels. As NFU President Minette Batters set out before the meeting in Egypt, leaders must see farmers as part of the solution, and recognise “agriculture’s role in producing renewable energy and sustainable food, alongside other land-based solutions such as carbon capture”. Clearly, at the heart of the debate lies a key consideration; land use. The role of policy and driven companies as well as NGOs, has never been more critical. Whether it is encouraging the transition to clean energy, or paving the way for diversification so food security can thrive alongside the natural environment, working with those who manage the land is the only scalable, and indeed viable, way forward.
So what did COP27 change?
November 16th was “Biodiversity Day” in Sharm El-Sheikh, with a clear focus on the resilience and protection of ecosystems and a discussion of sustainable land management. One of the biggest announcements was the creation of ENACT (Enhancing Nature-based Solutions for an Accelerated Climate Transformation), put together by the Egyptian COP27 Presidency, the Government of Germany and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). At its core, it aims to help structure nature based solutions into local, national and international strategies, whilst also creating a standardised method to report its progress. Of their seven key areas of focus, two seemed particularly relevant to the UK; Focus 1: “Food security and land productivity”, and Focus 6: “Mobilising private investment in NbS”. Clearly, land management will lie at the heart of this agenda. This becomes even more apparent when looking at the global targets set out by ENACT, which are as follows:
- “Secure up to 2.4 billion hectares of healthy natural and sustainable agricultural ecosystems, through protection of 45 million ha, sustainable management of 2 billion ha, and the restoration of 350 million ha.”
- “Significantly increase global mitigation efforts through protecting, conserving and restoring carbon-rich terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems.”
It is apparent, then, that food security is to be integrated with nature based solutions as we move toward a more sustainable future.
Food and Agriculture Sustainable Transformation (FAST)
This is illustrated by the launch of the Food and Agriculture Sustainable Transformation (FAST), which takes a direct focus on farming and food systems. It sets out a framework for international collaboration to improve the quantity and quality of financial input into agriculture, focussing on how we can keep to a 1.5-degree trajectory whilst ensuring resilience in both food systems and the land management sector. It is proposed that FAST will have a broad mandate to encourage investment, assist with policy making and ensure valuable knowledge exchange. We look forward to seeing how this continues to develop going forward.
Greener Finance for a Greener Future?
Underlying all of these agreements and proposed changes are two constants; the need for investment into nature, and the need for reliable data and mapping to ensure this can be carried out effectively. If COP27 has one clear takeaway, it is the need for a green finance market to operate effectively. Nature and climate risk must be incorporated into decision making, meaning that as companies and investors look to the future, they are compelled to act within a framework that systematically reduces environmental impact at every stage. This will materialise as both private corporations and government funding schemes investing in carbon capture and sequestration, sustainable and nature-friendly farming methods, and linking payments to the creation of public goods, or “natural capital”. The creation of the “Bridgetown Initiative” at COP illustrates the need to rework the global financial system to incorporate this agenda. It lays out how multilateral banks should be overhauled to provide more climate finance – as well as other innovative financial solutions. Clearly, a greener future depends on the creation of greener finance.
What does this mean for the Land App Community?
We’ll keep working to ensure that we provide an accessible, intuitive platform that makes accessing these emerging funding schemes as easy as possible. From collaboratively mapping landscape restoration, to biodiversity assessments, to applying for the latest sustainable farming schemes, Land App will continue to ensure land management is getting easier, and more transparent. Given that the future lies in data, mapping and ensuring the flow of capital to landowners through a “green financial market”, we’ll continue to innovate behind the scenes to empower land managers to design a sustainable planet, together.