November was the month of the Climate Change Conference, COP26, held in Glasgow, Scotland. It was a meeting that generated a lot of expectation about the level of global commitment required to avoid a catastrophic climate scenario, coupled with the controversy raised regarding the results.
At the end of the Conference, the perception of the young population, indigenous peoples and the environmental sector was of a Summit full of contradictions and a low desired political willingness. Although the level of commitment has been differentiated, the urgency of reducing global emissions by more than half by 2030 is recognized, in order to avoid 2.7 degrees of global warming, as indicated by the Emissions Gap Report 2021 (introduced by the United Nations).
One of the relevant mechanisms for climate action is the world's forests. COP26 presented the Glasgow Leaders Declaration on forests and land use, where more than 100 nations (including Mexico), commit to stop and reverse deforestation by 2030. It should be noted that it is not the first document of this nature, since it is preceded by the New York Declaration on Forests(2015), however, in this new Declaration, the level of investment and commitment has increased.
Some of the investment mechanisms for forest conservation contemplate financing through carbon certificates, which allow the management, conservation and restoration of forested areas worldwide. But these require greater scrutiny, conservative measurements, verification, registration, transparency and measurement of co-benefits, to ensure their integrity. The Article 6 from the Paris Agreement is critical for the integrity, and it is one of the least advanced to date.
One of the biggest concerns of not having progress in Article 6 for carbon markets regulation, is that companies instead of betting on technological investments to reduce their emissions or channel resources to mitigate risks against climate change in developing countries, bet to offset all their emissions through carbon certificates. Carbon standards are making significant efforts to provide integrity to their work in the issuance of carbon certificates. The Plan Vivo Foundation is currently under a public consultation process to update the Standard.
COP26 recognizes one of the most important mechanisms for the Plan Vivo Standard, as well as for AMBIO, concerning the active participation of smallholders and indigenous groups, as key actors for the management and conservation of forests. The design, implementation and benefits must be according to their needs, in such way that not only responds to carbon markets needs, but also to the owners' needs, in order to generate sustainable management and conservation mechanisms for the forests.