The Forest and Landscape Restoration Mechanism

Vanuatu

Vanuatu is one of the most exposed countries to natural disasters due to its geographic position: volcanic arc island and cyclonic area. Climate change, and the related increase in disastrous natural events, threaten 80 percent of the inhabitants relying on activities sensitive to weather (agriculture, fisheries and tourism).

Even if only one third of the country is cultivable, agriculture is the main economic sector in Vanuatu. There are three main types of agriculture in Vanuatu: subsidence agriculture (75 percent of the farmers), export-oriented agriculture (e.g. copra, kava and cacao) and livestock farming. With the progressive growth of the population, unsustainable agricultural practices, such as slash and burn, drecreased fallow time for cultures and overgrazing, have increased throughout the archipelago degrading land all over the country. The forest area has shrunk, weakening the land resilience in front of torrential runoffs (caused by heavy rains), landslides or other consequences of extreme weather events (e.g. Cylcone Pam in 2015).

To mitigate climate change and increase its adaptation potential, Vanuatu is committed to sustainable forest management. Vanuatu is working on an ambitious Forest and Landscape Restoration Strategy (FLRS). FAO is supporting the development of this strategy and its implementation. The full implementation of the FLRS will require the participation of multiple stakeholders and sources of funding.

EXPECTED IMPACTS

The FAO Forest and Landscape Restoration Mechanism (FLRM) team has been supporting the review and development of Vanuatu's FLRS. The strategy seeks to:

  • control soil erosion and siltation to protect rivers, streams and the ocean;
  • maintain or improve the fertility of soils and thereby contribute to food security;
  • address the socio-economic needs of forest dwellers and forest-dependent communities;
  • reduce pressure on natural forests and the vital services they provide;
  • reduce the drivers of climate change.

In order to meet their national Forest and Landscape Restoration (FLR) target, the country has engaged a technical partnership with FAO on:

  • Supporting the enabling conditions for the implementation of the FLRS: FLRS finalization, relevant policy support, capacity building, etc.
  • Supporting FLRS implementation in the field from community level planning to nurseries development, planting and assisted natural regeneration techniques.
  • Gathering technical and financial support for the FLRS, including support to the development of FLR bankable projects for active donors in the Pacific.
  • Monitoring, evaluation and lessons learnt dissemination.

EXPECTED RESULTS

  • Local level: Strengthened stakeholders’ coordination and capacity building for community level restoration. FLR happening on the ground.
  • National level: Strengthened FLRS and enabling environment.
  • Global level: Shared knowledge and public and private financing for FLR.

FAO is directly supporting the development of the strategy and will support its implementation through the GEF 5 “Ridge to Reef: Integrated Sustainable Land and Coastal Management” and GEF 6 “Ecosystem Restoration and Sustainable Land Management in Tongoa Island” projects in Vanuatu.