GLF Africa 2018 Calls for Increased Global Ambition on Ecosystem Restoration
Photo by IISD | Lynn Wagner
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GLF Africa 2018 took place from 29-30 August, 2018 in Nairobi, Kenya.

A “Voices of the Landscape” session explored diverse community restoration efforts.

The ‘Atlas of Forest and Landscape Restoration Opportunities’ identifies the potential to restore more than two billion hectares worldwide, at an annual cost of US$350 billion.

31 August 2018: The Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) Nairobi 2018 discussed strategies to scale up ambition to achieve global forest and landscape restoration targets. Among other proposals, the Forum considered a call by El Salvador, backed by UN Environment Programme (UNEP, or UN Environment) Executive Director Erik Solheim, for the UN General Assembly (UNGA) to declare 2021-2030 as the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration.

GLF Nairobi 2018 took place from 29-30 August 2018 in Nairobi, Kenya. It was coordinated by UNEP, the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the World Bank, with funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), German Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), and CGIAR and its Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry.

The discussions highlighted the cost of degraded landscapes, which is estimated at 10% of the global economy, affecting the livelihoods and well-being of three billion people. A “Voices of the Landscape” session explored diverse community restoration efforts, with various speakers stressing the need to “convert commitments to restore hundreds of millions of hectares of land into action” by involving communities, women, and youth.

Noting the need for urgent and concerted action to push back land degradation “in the face of population growth, unprecedented consumption, an increasingly globalized economy and climate change,” Robert Nasi, Director-General, CIFOR, stressed that the global community needs to restore “at least 12 million hectares annually simply to reach land degradation neutrality,” the third target under SDG 15 (life on land).

US$6.3 trillion of ecosystem service value is lost to landscape degradation each year, while restoring 350 million hectares by 2030 under the Bonn Challenge would generate a net benefit of up to US$9 trillion.

Stefan Schmitz, BMZ, emphasized that the global community has the requisite technical knowledge to restore landscapes, calling for stronger political commitment and better rural governance to enhance restoration efforts.

Under the Bonn Initiative, more than 50 countries have pledged to bring more than 160 million hectares – the size of the Indian subcontinent – into restoration, nearly half of the global target to restore 350 million hectares by 2030. The ‘Atlas of Forest and Landscape Restoration Opportunities,’ identifies the potential to restore more than two billion hectares worldwide, at an annual cost of US$350 billion. Discussing ways to bridge the estimated US$300 billion annual funding gap, Nasi stressed that there is a “compelling” business case as US$6.3 trillion of ecosystem service value is lost to landscape degradation each year, while restoring 350 million hectares by 2030 under the Bonn Challenge would generate a net benefit of up to US$9 trillion.

Tony Simons, Director-General, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), described the role of international partners in de-risking investments in landscape restoration to bring in private sector investment. He noted that for every dollar of external Overseas Development Assistance (ODA), there is US$3 of remittances, US$6 of Foreign Direct Investment, US$24 of domestic private sector spending, US$55 of national government spending, and US$1,000 of private capital.

Discussing the UN decade proposal, which is due to be presented to the UNGA in September 2018, Salvador Nieto, Executive Secretary of the Central American Commission for Development and Environment (CCAD), noted that a UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration will allow the international community to mobilize resources for restoration, monitor progress internationally, and advance recognition of restoration as a means to advance several SDGs. Supporting the call, Solheim said this would put landscape restoration at the forefront of national agendas, backing country-level efforts to meet a number of Global Goals in addition to SDG 15. Other SDGs that are dependent on landscape restoration include SDG 2 (zero hunger), SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation), SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production), SDG 13 (climate action), and SDG 14 (life below water).

GLF Nairobi 2018 took place at the UN Office in Nairobi and drew more than 800 participants, with an online audience of around 24,000 people. [GLF News Release on Forum Closing] [GLF News Release on Opening Sessions] [Atlas of Forest and Landscape Restoration Opportunities] [Forum Website] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Restoring Forests and Landscapes Synthesis Report]


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