The UK has kick-started a new initiative that brings key countries together to protect the world’s rainforests from further destruction whilst ensuring development and trade is sustainable as the host of the COP26 climate summit.
The Forest, Agriculture and Commodity Trade (FACT) Dialogue brings together more than 18 countries exporting and consuming agricultural products to discuss how to make the process greener and more sustainable.
International trade in commodities like palm oil, soy and beef, provides more than $80 billion (£58.6bn) a year in export earnings for producer countries and contributes to food security and economic growth in consumer nations.
While the sector supports 1.5 billion people, many of them in developing countries, more than 10 million hectares of forest are destroyed through global commodity production each year.
The FACT Dialogue, which will see countries take collaborative action through 2021 to November’s climate conference and beyond, aims to agree on a shared roadmap for the transition to sustainable supply chains and international trade.
COP26 President-Designate Alok Sharma said: “I am proud to bring together the countries that can make global trade more sustainable for everyone.
“This is about working together to protect our precious forests while enhancing livelihoods and supporting economic development and food security, which is one of our key priorities as we work towards COP26 in Glasgow later this year.”
The Dialogue’s non-governmental partner, the Tropical Rainforest Alliance (TFA), also announced the creation of a Global Multi Stakeholder Taskforce, which will bring together more than 25 leading figures working on sustainability who will channel their expertise and advise the governmental dialogues throughout the year.