Working group on Desertification and Restoration of Mediterranean drylands
The Ministry of Forests and Water Affaires of Turkey nominated Ms. Özlem YAVUZ, Head of Department in the Directorate General for Combating Desertification and Erosion of the Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs, as the Coordinator of the working group on desertification and restoration of Mediterranean drylands. Ms. Sevilay Özçelik SÖNMEZ from the Directorate General for Combating Desertification and Erosion of the Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs, was nominated as Secretary of the working group. Ms. Hande BİLİR from the TÜBİTAK Bilgem Software Technologies Research Institute was nominated as consultant of the working group.
Workshop on “Desertification and Restoration in Mediterranean Drylands"
On October 16, 2015, on the occasion of the 12th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 12) to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) held in Ankara, Turkey, it was held the Workshop on “Desertification and Restoration in Mediterranean Drylands” to launch the new working group of Silva Mediterranea aiming to address issues of desertification and restoration in the Mediterranean region. Twenty five experts from seven different Mediterranean countries (Portugal, Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia, Spain, France and Lebanon) attended this workshop. The event was supported and organised by several technical organizations such as: FAO/Forestry Department /the FLRM team, the Global Mechanism of the UNCCD and TUBITAK.
After the presentation of the global and the regional context by FAO (See the PowerPoint presented by FAO http://www.fao.org/forestry/flrm/89477/en/) the sessions focused on a brainstorming for preparing a future Road Map of this working group/thematic group on “Desertification and Restoration of Mediterranean drylands”. Taking into consideration the results of the evaluation of the Silva Mediterranea working groups, carried out in 2013, this one day workshop on “Desertification and Restoration of Mediterranean drylands” focused on how to build support for the development of this new working group and especially to:
- Support the implementation of Strategic Line 6 “Restore degraded Mediterranean forests landscapes” of the SFMF in Mediterranean countries;
- Promote and support the implementation of FAO's “Global guidelines for the restoration of degraded forests and landscapes in drylands - Building resilience and sustainable livelihoods” at the Mediterranean level;
- Promote and share best practices and lessons learned at the regional level through projects, programs and other initiatives on restoration of forest and landscapes in drylands with, in particular, the support of the new Forest and Landscape Restoration Mechanism (FLRM) launched by FAO at the occasion of COFO in June 2014;
- Support and contribute to the future editions of the State of Mediterranean Forests with regard to issues related to degradation/restoration affecting the Mediterranean region (e.g. degradation of Mediterranean dryland forests, post-fire restoration, etc.);
- Target the next edition of the Mediterranean Forest week (V MFW) to be held in Morocco in March/April 2017 on Forest and Landscape Restoration.
Main results of the workshop and key recommendations for the new working group
The working group/thematic group will be focusing its effort on the implementation of the Strategic Line 6 “Restore degraded Mediterranean forests landscapes” of the Strategic Framework on Mediterranean Forests (SFMF) at national/regional level by:
- Promoting the dissemination and implementation of FAO's “Global guidelines for the restoration of degraded forests and landscapes in drylands - Building resilience and sustainable livelihoods” at the Mediterranean level. Those guidelines prepared jointly by FAO and Turkey with the support of TIKA could be adapted to national/local contexts and used as a key tool for promoting good practices on restoration, in particular on assisted natural regeneration options, in the Mediterranean;
- Capitalizing on existing successful restorations efforts already implemented in the Mediterranean and sharing best practices and lessons learned at the regional level through projects, programs and other initiatives on restoration of forest and landscapes in drylands with, in particular, the support of the new Forest and Landscape Restoration Mechanism (FLRM) launched by FAO at the occasion of the Committee on Forestry (COFO) in June 2014. The integration of the Mediterranean region in global initiatives on restoration could be supported by this FLRM team taking advantage of other existing regional initiatives like the Initiative 20x20 in Latin America, or other global initiatives such as “The Restoration Initiative” currently in preparation as a GEF 6 Programmatic Approach with several members of the Global Partnership on Forest and Landscape Restoration, and led by IUCN, UNEP and FAO;
- Preparing a strong chapter focused on restoration in the next edition of the State of Mediterranean Forests to be prepared with the key support of FAO (Secretariat of Silva Mediterranea and other experts within the Forestry Department) by end of 2017. Taking into consideration that land degradation and restoration are key issues for the Mediterranean this chapter could provide information/recent knowledge on: (a) land degradation assessment, building on the new Land Degradation Neutrality concept formally adopted in Ankara and recently recognized as one of the new SDGs (SDG 15.3); (b) identification of the main restoration opportunities in the region, taking into consideration the multi-functionality of Mediterranean landscapes (agriculture, forest, pasture, recreation...) and the need to identify a well-balanced package of restoration options; and (c) provision of recommendations in order to deal with the main current barriers for the implementation of large scale restoration programs in the Mediterranean.
- Focusing the next edition of the Mediterranean Forest Week (V MFW) to be held in Morocco in March/April 2017 on Forest and Landscape Restoration. This option could be an excellent opportunity to highlight the efforts already made by the region on “Desertification and Restoration of Mediterranean drylands” and to disseminate the first results/new recommendations/publications of the working group at the regional level. Some participants also highlighted the need to use several upcoming events by 2017 to promote the Road Map/Results of this new working group on “Desertification and Restoration of Mediterranean drylands” with, in particular, the NEFRC to be held in Algeria (Tlemcen) from 13 to 16 December 2015 and the UNFCCC COP 22 to be held in Morocco at the end of 2016
- Establishing partnerships with organization supporting the development of innovative financing mechanisms for FLR and LDN, e.g. the FAO FLRM and the Global Mechanism of the UNCCD, following the recommendations of the newly published discussion paper “Sustainable financing for forest and landscape restoration” (FAO & UNCCD, 2015) and related policy brief.
All those proposals from the participants are totally in line with several adopted recommendations of the evaluation of the Committee on Mediterranean Forestry Questions - Silva Mediterranea, such as: (i) “the Committee should have a shared vision and strategy based on the identification of priority thematic areas from the Strategic Framework for Mediterranean Forests”, (ii) “the Committee should focus on the “areas for which the FAO Forestry Department has experts” including the thematic “combating desertification and restoration of degraded lands'', (iii) “the Committee should regularly publish/update the State of Mediterranean Forests (SoMF)” and the (iv) “the Committee should regularly organize Mediterranean Forest Week (MFW) with the support of the Forestry Department within FAO (Secretariat of Silva Mediterranea and other thematic teams)”.
Support to the preparation of the global guidelines for the restoration of degraded forests and landscapes in drylands
The working group has provided support to the preparation of the Global guidelines for the restoration of degraded forests and landscapes in drylands, in particular with the contributions of TIKA to the international workshops in Konya, Turkey, in May 2012, and in Dakar, Senegal, in February 2013.