Second Bonn Challenge Barometer Report Highlights Forest Restoration Co-benefits, Lessons Learned
Photo by Luis Del Río Camacho
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Published by IUCN in June 2019, the progress report concludes “implementation of FLR is clearly happening at scale,” and highlights some additional co-benefits in the countries surveyed, including the creation of an estimated 354,000 jobs, an average investment per hectare of at least USD 235, and the sequestration of 1.379 billion tonnes of CO2.

The five countries assessed in depth – Brazil, El Salvador, Rwanda, Mexico and the US – had made commitments totaling 30.7 million hectares with 89% (27.385 million hectares) under restoration.

An online version of the Bonn Challenge Barometer tracking tool was released in early 2019.

2 July 2019: The second application of the Bonn Challenge Barometer, which tracks global commitments on forest landscape restoration (FLR), finds that nearly 44 million hectares (Mha) of land was under restoration in 13 countries in 2018, representing approximately 56% of these countries’ commitments and 29% of the total global Bonn Challenge target. Published in June 2019 by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the progress report concludes that “implementation of FLR is clearly happening at scale,” and highlights some additional co-benefits in the countries surveyed, including the creation of an estimated 354,000 jobs, an average investment per hectare of at least USD 235, and the sequestration of 1.379 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2).

The progress report is based on in-depth studies in five countries, as well as a rapid assessment in 13 countries in 2018. The US, one of the countries included in the in-depth studies, is reported as bringing 17 Mha into restoration by June 2019, exceeding its target of 15 Mha. Overall, the five countries assessed in depth – Brazil, El Salvador, Rwanda, Mexico and the US – had made commitments totaling 30.7 Mha, with 89% (27.385 Mha) under restoration. The report also highlights the link between FLR and biodiversity conservation goals, for example through the convergence of restoration initiatives with protected areas.

The report is based on the Bonn Challenge Barometer – a progress-tracking framework and tool developed by IUCN to support pledgers in tracking and reporting on their national and subnational FLR commitments. The Barometer captures progress across two sets of indicators – “success factors,” including policies, institutional frameworks, financial flows and technical support that create an enabling environment for FLR, and the “results and benefits” in terms of the land area brought into restoration and the resultant climate mitigation, biodiversity conservation and job creation benefits.

With 2018 marking the end of the Barometer development phase, the progress report identifies a number of lessons learned and challenges that need to be addressed. These include the need for: reflecting that restoration takes place at multiple scales and through multiple actors; clarifying FLR terminology; making specific efforts to systematize and align reporting on CO2 sequestration from restoration with monitoring under the UNFCCC; improving spatial data on restoration initiatives on the ground; and supporting pledgers to assess and document the socioeconomic impacts of FLR across scales.

The assessment report also reflects the range of FLR approaches currently being implemented. Among the five countries included in the in-depth survey, the predominant FLR strategies were the management of degraded forest lands through silviculture and natural regeneration, and the improvement of agricultural lands through agroforestry. Commercial plantations were reported as accounting for only 2.2% of current FLR activities.

It is expected that all countries that have made commitments will be able to use the Barometer to record their progress from 2019 onwards. An online version of the tracking tool was released in early 2019, making it easier for pledgers to visualize data and report on their progress. The five countries involved in the 2018 in-depth surveys – Armenia, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Ethiopia, Madagascar and Togo – are currently working with IUCN to apply the protocol to their restoration programmes.

Launched in 2011 as a global commitment by the government of Germany and IUCN, the Bonn Challenge aims to restore 150 Mha of land by 2020 and, in tandem with the New York Declaration on Forests, a total of 350 Mha by 2030. By mid-2019, 58 pledgers had signaled their commitment to the Bonn Challenge and its regional platforms, such as Initiative 20×20 and the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100). The recently declared UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration is expected to bring additional momentum to these commitments as vehicles for environmental sustainability.

The data gathered for the progress report will also feed into the next report on the New York Declaration on Forests. [Publication: Second Bonn Challenge Progress Report: Application of the Barometer in 2018] [Publication Landing Page] [Online Tool] [IUCN Press Release]

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