The Forest and Landscape Restoration Mechanism

UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration: The role of the Task Force on Best Practices

Year published: 10/11/2020

Aware of the critical state of degradation of ecosystems worldwide, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly proclaimed 2021–2030 the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. The resolution proclaiming the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration calls for supporting and scaling up efforts to “prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems worldwide,” raising awareness of the importance of ecosystem restoration and its key role in attaining the objectives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.[1] In order to support the implementation of the Decade, a FAO-led Task Force (TF) on Best Practices has been established involving a group of 85 individuals from 32 global leading organizations,[2] to set the ground for efforts on knowledge capitalization and dissemination.

A roadmap was developed around seven outputs. Output 1 relates to the operationalization of the TF, identifying fields of expertise, roles and responsibilities across members. Output 2 is aimed at prioritizing ecosystems and geographies where knowledge capitalization will be focused at the first stage. Output 3 is based on the mapping and interaction with resource partners to identify, share, collect or generate knowledge. Output 4 envisages a capacity needs assessment, which will produce a knowledge and learning plan (Output 5). This will lead in turn to a proposed set of terms of reference for a short list of flagship knowledge products (Output 6). Finally, Output 7 includes the capitalization, classification, endorsement and dissemination of good practices.

A wide range of relevant and quality resources, such as good practices, manuals, guidelines, websites, training and expertise, should be availed for the benefit of all stakeholders to the Decade. These resources will cover all the aspects of ecosystem restoration: from the different phases of a restoration project (planning, implementation and monitoring) to discussions on the broader environment that makes these projects and initiatives successful.

The group has developed a methodology for ecosystem prioritization in order to initiate knowledge capitalization efforts based on the new International Union for Conservation of Nature Global Ecosystem Typology[3] and relevant reports by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services for the Americas.[4] Under the leadership of voluntary TF members, a questionnaire and a methodology (to map stakeholders, analyze their networks and assess their capacities) were developed, building on existing efforts by The Restoration Initiative, the Forest and Landscape Restoration Mechanism, AFR100 and the United Nations Environment Programme. Results will feed into the Capacity Enhancement Strategy of the Decade. The proposed methodology was presented on 28 October 2020 at the GLF Biodiversity Digital Conference. Finally, a sub-group on capitalization of good practices was recently formed to refine the objectives, modalities and process for collection, endorsement and dissemination of existing and promising good practices. A stocktaking of knowledge platforms that have been collecting and disseminating good practices was already initiated, highlighting important global and regional platforms, such as the World Overview of Conservation and Technologies, PANORAMA Solutions, LIFEGoProFor, Conservation Evidence, REFORM, UNESCO and Mangroves for the Future. This stocktaking will allow for comparison between modalities of capitalization and documentation of good practices, and provide structure and content for templates, linking them to the UN Decade website following the corresponding endorsement process by the TF.

Faustine Zoveda and Andrea Romero Montoya (FAO)

[1] UNEP & FAO. 2020. Strategy of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. 51 pp. (also available here).

[2] These organizations include: the Center for International Forestry Research / Global Landscape Forum; Eurosite; Forestation International; the International Union for Conservation of Nature; the Society for Ecological Restoration; UNESCO; the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health; the University of the Sunshine Coast; Wageningen University; the Water Environment Federation; the World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies; and the World Resources Institute.

[3] Keith, D.A., et al. 2020. The IUCN Global Ecosystem Typology v1.01: Descriptive profiles for Biomes and Ecosystem Functional Groups. Gland, Switzerland, IUCN. 174 pp. (also available here).

[4] IPBES. 2018. The IPBES regional assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services for the Americas.  J. Rice, C.S. Seixas, M.E. Zaccagnini, M. Bedoya-Gaitán & N. Valderrama eds. Bonn, Germany, Secretariat of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. 656 pp.