The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) was held in Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom from 31 October to 13 November 2021. The Alliance for Reversing Ecosystem Service Threats (AREST), which is a partnership between ATREE, Columbia University, EDF, FES, and ICRAF participated in multiple engagements at the COP26. AREST presented scientific evidence for adopting socio-ecologically responsible interventions to address land degradation. Such an approach, rooted in good science and good economics, will generate jobs, support local livelihoods, sequester carbon and deliver co-benefits on nutrition, biodiversity conservation, and food and water security.
Obtaining both public and private finance for NbS is a key barrier for upscaling existing efforts. Moderated by Dr. Nitin Pandit (ATREE), the panel deliberated on navigating a complex network of institutions to mobilize finance for large-scale NbS. Christina Ender, Regional Climate Change Director (Africa), Conservation International, discussed livelihood focused restoration of rangelands in South Africa though planned grazing, managing livestock health and incentives including payment for ecosystem services and governance and capacity building. CSR Murthy, Chief General Manager, Farm Sector Development Department at NABARD discussed India's experiences around natural resource management at NABARD. Richie Ahuja, Associate Vice President, Climate-smart Agriculture at the Environmental Defense Fund touched upon innovation, the importance of understanding demand from a farmer's perspective and the role of low-cost commercial financing.
We discussed ecosystem-based adaptation as an inclusive and just approach to address adaptation needs, boost emission sinks and address the livelihood challenges of vulnerable communities. This session presented scaling and financing mechanisms based on experiences from Africa and India and included representations from the host organisations.
The panel presented a co-benefits approach to make a case to implement NbS for meeting NDC targets. Ruth DeFries, Environmental Geographer, Columbia University, discussed people-centric nutrition, adaptation and mitigation benefits from incentivizing millet-based cultivation. Ishan Agrawal, General Manager, Programs, Foundation for Ecological Security discussed participatory governance approaches for adaptive management of invasive on commons to protect the livelihoods of the poor. Ravi Prabhu, Director, Innovation, Investment & Impact, CIFOR-ICRAF, emphasized the need for investments in stewardship and innovation to scale up nature based solutions.
The panel deliberated on the financial, institutional and governance pathways critical for implementing a restoration roadmap to achieve restoration of 26 MHa of degraded land and India's NDC3 pledge on land-based carbon sequestration from additional carbon sinks. Karishma Shelar, Senior Policy Analyst, ATREE presented the approach of the Alliance for Reversing Ecosystem Service Threats for meeting India's land-based climate pledges. Leigh Ann Winowiecki, Soil and Land Health Research Lead at World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF, discussed citizen science approaches on co-learning from communities. Abi Vanak, Senior Fellow, ATREE, discussed the importance of biodiversity conservation for livelihoods by protecting open natural ecosystems. Richie Ahuja emphasised the need for near-farmer institutions to address information asymmetry and implement the right interventions on the ground.