Bangladesh has signed the Glasgow Leaders' Declaration on Forests and Land Use, where the country pledged to end or reduce deforestation by 2030.
"We have signed the declaration on forests and land use, and our name has been updated to the list," Md Moniruzzaman, additional secretary to the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, told a coordination meeting with the delegates at the Bangladesh pavilion in Glasgow on Friday evening.
Over 100 countries, representing 85% of the world's forests, made a commitment to end deforestation by 2030 at the ongoing United Nations Climate Conference in Glasgow on 2 November.
Bangladesh stayed away from the deforestation deal signed at the COP26 summit arguing that the country's constitution already provides clear and specific guidelines on preservation of forests, several delegates said.
In the wake of widespread criticism at home, the country later decided to add its voice to the international deforestation chorus.
Professor Ahmad Kamruzzaman Majumder, joint secretary of environmental organisation Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA), told The Business Standard, "We therefore commit to working collectively to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030 while delivering sustainable development and promoting an inclusive rural transformation."
In fact, the Glasgow deforestation pledge is not a new one as such endorsement earlier came from the United Nations Climate Summit in 2014 named The New York Declaration on Forests (NYDF).
The NYDF was endorsed by over 200 countries, subnational governments, companies, indigenous groups, and NGOs to cut deforestation by 50% by 2020 and end it by 2030. As the commitment is yet to be implemented, deforestation, in the meantime, has increased, contributing an estimated 23% of total carbon emissions.
This Glasgow declaration came following the failure of the NYDF.
Some climate and forest advocates said they are sceptical about how Bangladesh will implement its promise to end deforestation as the country is setting up a coal power plant near to the largest mangrove forest, the Sundarbans, and making railway lines through a wildlife sanctuary.
When asked Md Amir Hossain Chowdhury, Chief Conservation of Forests Department of Forest what will be the impacts of the Glasgow Leaders' Declaration on Forests and Land Use, told The Business Standard " For this declaration, Bangladesh has to think very carefully on environmental impact before taking any project. Moreover, Bangladesh has to increase forest land along with ending deforestation along with other global community."
According to the COP26 declaration, the countries have promised to work collectively to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030 while delivering sustainable development and promoting an inclusive rural transformation.
In the declaration the countries also agreed to work on six issues, including forest conservation, facilitating policies to promote sustainable development, building and enhancing rural livelihoods and implementing agricultural policies.
Over $19 billion in public and private funds have been pledged at the Glasgow conference to fulfil the target of ending deforestation by 2030.