The UNECE has partnered with FAO, IUCN, WRI and the World Bank to restore 30 million hectares of land in Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia, by 2030.
Called ‘ECCA30,’ the initiative aims to accelerate implementation of the Bonn Challenge and the SDGs, among other agreed development goals and objectives.
24 September 2019: Citing the World Atlas on Desertification, the European Union highlights that desertification affects 8% of its territory. To address this challenge, the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) has partnered with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Bank to restore 30 million hectares of land in Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia, by 2030.
Called ‘ECCA30,’ the initiative aims to hasten implementation of the Bonn Challenge, the Paris Agreement on climate change, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, especially SDG target 15.3, which calls on countries to achieve a land degradation neutral (LDN) world by 2030. The Bonn Challenge calls for the restoration of 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded land by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030.
Per the UNECE, the initiative will “build on growing political momentum in the region for land restoration as enshrined in the Astana Resolution.” Under this resolution and towards the Bonn Challenge, the UNECE has supported Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to restore approximately 3 million hectares of degraded lands.
In addition to the above agreed goals and targets, the ECCA30 will enable nature-based solutions and forest landscape restoration (FLR) towards the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Aichi Biodiversity Targets, the LDN goal under UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the UN Strategic Plan for Forests for 2017-2030 (UNSPF); and the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030).
Launching the ECCA30 alongside the UN Climate Action Summit, UNECE Executive Secretary Olga Algayerova highlighted the importance of regional action to forest landscape restoration. Fred Stolle, Deputy Director of Forest for WRI noted that land and forest restoration have “enormous potential for carbon sequestration, with multiple benefits for millions of people on water and food security, as well as energy generation.” [UNECE Press Release] [European Union Press Release]