The Forest and Landscape Restoration Mechanism

Status of the four main regional initiatives on Forest and Landscape Restoration: a COFO side event organized by the FLRM

Year published: 13/09/2018

On 20 July 2018, FAO’s Forest and Landscape Restoration Mechanism (FLRM) organized an event ‘Status of the four main regional initiatives on Forest and Landscape Restoration’. Over 60 participants from around the globe participated in this side event held during the 24th session of the Committee on Forestry (COFO 24) and World Forest Week events at FAO Headquarters in Rome. The side event focused on FLR progress made within the four main regional initiatives in the Mediterranean, Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America. 

Adriana Vidal, Forest Policy Officer at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), discussed the Bonn Challenge, a global effort to bring 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested land into restoration by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030. The Bonn Challenge is an important implementation vehicle for existing global commitments, particularly the Rio Convention - the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) - as well as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the New York Declaration on Forests, and the REDD+ programme. It is supported by global platforms and initiatives, including the Global Partnership on Forest and Landscape Restoration (GPFLR) and the Global Restoration Council, and has spurred regional initiatives emerging around the globe.  

Participants discussed restoration of some 80 million hectares of degraded land in the Mediterranean through FLR, which is an integrative forest-based solution at landscape level to address the specific threats and drivers of degradation in the region. 

To scale up restoration efforts, achieve Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) and conserve biodiversity, nine Mediterranean countries voluntarily endorsed the Agadir Commitment in March 2017. Its overall ambition is to enable the restoration of at least eight million hectares of degraded forest landscapes by 2030 in the Mediterranean region, by supporting: (i) assessment of ongoing FLR efforts; (ii) regional cooperation on FLR and LDN; (iii) FLR financing, and (iv) FLR and LDN monitoring. The Agadir Commitment will connect with other regional and global initiatives, such as the Bonn Challenge, the Ankara Initiative and the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative (GGWSSI).

Charles Barber, Director of the Forest Legality Initiative, World Resources Institute (WRI), presented the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100), a continent-wide, country-led movement to bring 100 million hectares of degraded land into restoration by 2030. As a part of the Bonn Challenge, AFR 100 has secured commitments from 26 countries to restore a combined 84.8 million hectares of degraded land since its launch two years ago. 

He also discussed Initiative 20×20, aimed at bringing 20 million hectares of degraded land in Latin American and the Caribbean into restoration by 2020. This initiative focuses on silvo-pastoralism; agroforestry and low-carbon agriculture; avoiding deforestation; as well as reforestation and sustainable grasslands. It promotes dialogue between institutions and sectors; conducts analyses to address information gaps; and increases investment and financing for FLR. 

Thomas Hofer, Senior Forestry Officer of FAO Regional Office for the Asia-Pacific region, provided some highlights of the Regional Strategy and Action Plan for Forest and Landscape Restoration in the Asia-Pacific. Developed with support coming from FAO since 2016, it was endorsed in 2017 during the 27th Session of Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission (APFC). The strategy focuses on the following six priorities to advance FLR in the region: (i) support development and implementation of national FLR plans and targets; (ii) promote regional dialogue, learning, collaboration and coordinated action; (iii) build recognition and support for use of various technical, social and institutional approaches as appropriate for different landscapes and objectives; (iv) facilitate and support mobilization of financing for FLR; (v) encourage private sector participation and investment in FLR, and (vi) support community-level action of FLR. 

Panelists in a discussion during the side event included Anura Sathurusinghe (Chair of the APFC in Sri Lanka); Yacouba Seybou (AFR100 focal point from Niger); Ahmadou Sebory Toure (Global Environment Facility operational focal point from Guinea); Pascal Martinez (GEF Secretariat); and IUCN’s Vidal. They shared their perspectives on options and key success factors to achieve global and regional pledges by scaling-up restoration, which critically needs resource mobilization. The GEF and its new impact programme Food Systems, Land Use and Restoration will be instrumental in that. 

For more information contact: [email protected] 

Hyunjung Abigail Kim (FAO)