Forest and Landscape Investment Forum, World Bank Discuss Restoration
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
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The inaugural Forest and Landscape Investment Forum (FLIF) brought together stakeholders from east African countries to participate in discussions and events meant to further progress on commitments towards reforestation and land degradation.

With a focus on tree-based systems, the World Bank released research further discussing the benefits of achieving these targets.

17 May 2017: The inaugural Forest and Landscape Investment Forum (FLIF) brought together forest and landscape companies and stakeholders from seven eastern African countries to participate in wide-ranging debates and discussion forums, exhibitions and side events meant to further progress on agreed development goals, especially commitments towards reforestation and land degradation. World Bank research discusses further the benefits of achieving these targets.

Held in Kigali, Rwanda, from 15-17 May 2017, the FLIF was co-organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) in partnership with the Ministry of Natural Resources of Rwanda, the Rwanda Development Board, the National Agricultural Export Development Board, and Rwanda’s Green Fund. It aimed to advance a ‘Forest and Landscape Investment Platform for Africa’, as part of the AFR100 target of restoring 100 million hectares of degraded land in Africa by 2030. It also supported implementation of the Bonn Challenge – a global effort to restore 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded lands by 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030. Participants were drawn from Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

Research by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) gave context to the Forum. These agencies report that an estimated US$36-49 billion annually is needed to achieve the ambitious restoration goals set by the global development agenda that include Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 13 (climate action) and 15 (life on land), especially targets 15.2 on sustainable forest management and 15.3 on land degradation neutrality. Moreover, according to the two organizations, most investments in forests and landscapes are focused on Latin America, with only 1% of funding going to Africa.

Most investments in forests and landscapes are focused on Latin America, with only 1% of funding going to Africa.

World Bank research also made a case for landscape restoration. An article exploring recent achievements in Forest Landscape Restoration published on the World Bank blog, ‘Voices: Perspectives on Development,’ highlights pledges by 40 countries, sub-national jurisdictions, and non-governmental entities to restore forest landscapes across 148 million hectares, also as part of the Bonn Challenge. The article cites research by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) that estimates the annual net benefit of restoring 150 million hectares of land at approximately US$85 billion per year, in terms of renewed economic opportunity, improved water supply, and climate resilience.

Citing a study in four sub-Saharan countries that showed one-third of rural farms report growing trees, the article calls for national agriculture and forest policies to focus on tree-based systems – including trees on farms – in a holistic way in order to fully understand the extent and benefits of restoration. It highlights efforts by the World Bank-led Program on Forests (PROFOR) to develop a guidebook on how agricultural household services can systematically include tree-relevant data. [FAO Press Release] [Water for Growth Rwanda Press Release] [World Bank Blog on Diverse Forest Landscape Restoration Initiatives]

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