The Forest and Landscape Restoration Mechanism

A Task Force on Best Practices

The UN Decade Task Force on Best Practices

WHY A TASK FORCE?

Unsustainable land use and destruction of natural ecosystems have contributed to global land degradation, climate change and biodiversity loss. To prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems worldwide, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2021–2030 as the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

All ecosystems, terrestrial and aquatic, have the potential to be restored. For the Decade, ecosystem restoration encompasses a wide continuum of activities that contribute to protecting intact ecosystems, avoid further degradation and repairing degraded ones. It means that restoration can happen in many ways and that it is not always possible – or desirable – to return an ecosystem to its original state. In that case, the goal is to optimize ecosystem functions and services, and to improve management practices and governance.

To support the implementation of the Decade, a FAO-led Task Force on Best Practices was established. This Task Force focuses on shaping the knowledge component of the UN Decade, including capacity development efforts and capitalization as well as sharing and dissemination of good practices for restoration in all ecosystems.

OUTPUTS

A roadmap was collaboratively developed around seven outputs:

  • Output 1: Task Force is operational, with clear Terms of Reference and representatives from key technical organizations.
  • Output 2: Ecosystems and geographies where knowledge capitalization will be focused at the first stage are prioritized.
  • Output 3: Partners are identified, and ways to interact with them to share, collect or generate knowledge are agreed upon.
  • Output 4: Capacity needs assessment is undertaken at global level for all stakeholders involved in ecosystem restoration.
  • Output 5: Action plan on knowledge and learning is developed and approved by the task force, based on the results of the capacity needs assessment.
  • Output 6: Terms of Reference for a short-list of flagship products that could be elaborated in the context of the UN Decade are developed.
  • Output 7: Good practices are collected and / or capitalized according to pre-agreed formats, endorsed and made available through the UN Decade digital hub and other partners’ websites and resources.

MAIN ACHIEVEMENTS AND ONGOING EFFORTS

Output 1: Task Force is operational, with clear Terms of Reference and representatives from key technical organizations.

A group of more than 100 members from several dozens of global leading organizations in the field of capacity development and knowledge dissemination joined the Task Force on a voluntary basis to contribute to the achievement of the outputs. Members of the Task Force currently focus efforts on outputs 5 (Action plan on knowledge and learning), 6 (Terms of Reference for priority knowledge products and initiatives) and 7 (collection, capitalization and dissemination of good practices). The Task Force is also collaborating with other relevant efforts, including those of the UN Decade Task Forces on Monitoring, Science, Finance and Youth.

Output 4: Capacity needs assessment is undertaken at global level for all stakeholders involved in ecosystem restoration.

A global online survey was disseminated to identify what and whose “system-wide capacities” need to be enhanced to achieve the goals of the Decade and sustain its efforts beyond 2030. In particular, the assessment aimed to:

  • provide a baseline of existing capacities across people, organizations, networks, partnerships and the enabling environment;
  • help identify strengths, gaps, needs and barriers to achieving and sustaining global restoration goals at scale; and
  • guide the Decade’s system-wide capacity development efforts by mainstreaming restoration capabilities into regional and national knowledge and learning action plans.

A summary report on the key findings of this assessment is available here.

Output 5: Action plan on knowledge and learning is developed and approved by the Task Force, based on the results of the capacity needs assessment.

A capacity, knowledge and learning action plan is being developed building on the results from the global capacity needs assessment and a stock-taking of existing knowledge products and capacity development initiatives. In particular, this action plan will identify:

  • existing (current and recent) knowledge products and capacity development initiatives that can be scaled up;
  • tools/instruments to promote and enhance dissemination of existing knowledge products and capacity development initiatives; and
  • gaps in existing knowledge products and capacity development initiatives that need to be addressed through the development of new products and initiatives, tailored to different target groups. For each priority product or initiative, detailed Terms of Reference will be elaborated (Output 6).

Output 7: Good practices are collected and / or capitalized according to pre-agreed formats, endorsed and made available through the UN Decade digital hub and other partners’ websites and resources.

To effectively undertake and scale-up ecosystem restoration efforts, practitioners need to easily access good practices. To do so, the task force has been focused on:

  1. Shaping guiding principles for ecosystem restoration: ten principles applicable to all sectors, biomes and regions were developed and published in the brochure “Principles for ecosystem restoration to guide the United Nations Decade 2021–2030”. To develop the publication, besides Decade Lead Agencies UNEP and FAO (the coordinator of the Task Force), the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Commission for Ecosystem Management (IUCN CEM) acted as main convenor with the collaboration of WWF, CIFOR-ICRAF, and Ecohealth Network.
  2. Developing standards of practice for ecosystem restoration (SoPs): following the partnership established with SER and IUCN CEM, these standards are being elaborated to provide practical guidance on the application of the ten principles to the planning, implementation, monitoring and maintenance of ecosystem restoration initiatives.
  3. Capitalizing and availing of existing good practices: A stock-taking of knowledge platforms that collect and disseminate validated good practices in different ecosystems was conducted. A common search engine to link practices collected by collaborating platforms including GoProFor, Panorama Solutions, WOCAT and the FERM Registry, is being developed and will be featured on the UN Decade Hub to facilitate access to the users to the most relevant content according to their needs.
  4. Collecting new practices: Preparation of the long-term process of collection of new practices during the Decade. Close collaboration with the FAO-led Monitoring Task Force was developed to link the process of documentation of good practices and undertaken by the Task Force on Best Practices, to the Framework for Ecosystem Restoration Monitoring (FERM) Registry. The FERM Registry allows for registration of restoration initiatives and documentation of their respective good practices. Click here to register your restoration initiative and document good practices through the FERM Registry.
    Note: During the preliminary phase of the FERM Registry, only UN Decade partners can register their restoration initiatives and submit good practices through the platform. However, the process will be open to the general public at a later stage.
    To see the step by step on how to document good practices through the FERM Registry, please click here.
    In addition, profiles of the collaborating platforms that collect good practices will be featured on the UN Decade Hub including Panorama Solutions, WOCAT, and the FERM Registry.