COP26 and a New Era for Forests : A Letter from Niyanta Spelman Rainforest Partnership's Founder and CEO


November 2, 2021

Niyanta Spelman, CEO and Founder of Rainforest Partnership

I've been saying it for years: the time for forests is coming. This year is different. This year, as COP26 begins and the world is turning its eyes to Glasgow, I can finally say that the time for massive global action for forests is finally here. 

COP26 will be a turning point for forests and a turning point for Rainforest Partnership.

From the very founding of RP, we have been a voice for forests and a champion of collaboration; partnership is in our DNA.  Now, 14 years later, we stand strong in our role as convener and thought leader in rainforest conservation. As COP26 begins, our team is hyper-focused on elevating forests on the global stage and fiercely committed to protecting our forests -- dramatically expanding both the scale of impact and accelerating the pace in which it happens. We will meet the challenge for forest and climate.


Forests have not received the global attention nor the capital to match the essential role they play in the climate equation. The solutions we need to protect forests already exist, as do a myriad of dedicated organizations and passionate people ready to meet this challenge around the world. But the rainforest conservation space has been siloed, overworked and severely underfunded.


No more. The times demand that we rise to meet the need before us. 


We do not yet have technology at scale to meet the immense challenge of climate change and biodiversity loss. We do have a globally abundant natural solution that is extremely high-impact, cost-effective, and fast-acting: forests.  Investing in forest protection now generates immediate impact that buys time for technology to come online.


Again: partnership is in our DNA. 

We know the power of collaboration-- of collective action, shared resources, and joined voices. We are building a global network of organizations and leaders to magnify our impact for forests, for all the people that live in and protect our forests, and for the planet, itself. 

That’s why, on June 22, 2017, we launched World Rainforest Day: to bring the world together to celebrate and act for our forests. In each year since, we have engaged and activated ever-increasing numbers of people around the world. In 2021, we know that isn’t enough. We need each & every day to be World Rainforest Day.


Having the right solutions is just the start, but that's only the first step. Young people have the energy and fierce commitment needed to bring these solutions to life. 


At Rainforest Partnership, we’ve always had youth and next-Gens in key roles and leadership positions, and you’ll see that across our 2021 team. We’re proud to spotlight them and amplify their ideas and voices.


To this end, our Rainforest Partnership delegation of six in Glasgow will be represented by three Gen Z for the Trees leaders: Rosie Khan & Jamie Ziah, leaders of our Gen Z for the Trees, and Nia Gorbunova, our World Rainforest Day coordinator. 


At their sides are our millennial board member Lucia Gallardo, board member Lina Constantinovici, board chair, Ani Chahal Honan, and myself.  


We come with a bold vision and fierce commitment to protect our forests. 


To all of you that have supported us over the years, to all of our rainforest community partners, our incredibly hardworking team in Peru, Ecuador, and all around the world, to our global community, youth, and future generations-- we promise to be a bold, unapologetic, and focused voice for our forests-- and for all of us.


We are ready. We invite you to walk this path with us.   Come join us, come talk to us. We’ve been waiting for you.