National Forest Monitoring

Developing a roadmap for Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) Target 2


On the 12th September, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) held a knowledge exchange session for parties to the CBD titled “Workshop on ecosystem restoration-related planning and capacity-building needs for the implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF)”. At the event, attended by 114 participants from 41 countries, a special attention was given to GBF Target 2 and the role of monitoring and their implications on ecosystem restoration actions were thoroughly examined. The discussions shed light on the importance of understanding the present state of ecosystems, setting clear baselines, the scope of restoration, and ensuring synergy with other targets and global commitments like the SDGs.

Why was it important to discuss?

In the previous decade, the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, particularly Aichi Target 15, aimed to restore at least 15 percent of degraded ecosystems. However, the Global Biodiversity Outlook 5 reported that this target was not fully achieved. Many countries expressed difficulties in quantifying the area of degraded ecosystems and lacked clear baselines for tracking progress.

Despite these challenges, the past decade has seen a surge in restoration initiatives, particularly in terrestrial ecosystems, with commitments reaching approximately 1 billion hectares globally. However, these commitments were unevenly distributed, with fewer coming from National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs).

To raise the ambition, the Kunming-Montreal GBF has set Target 2, raising the bar by calling for the restoration of at least 30 percent of degraded terrestrial, inland water, coastal, and marine ecosystems. Translating this global aspiration to the national level requires countries to:

  1. Understanding the current state: Nations should assess the extent and location of ecosystem degradation to plan restoration effectively.
  2. Expanding the scope: GBF Target 2 includes diverse ecosystems (terrestrial, inland, coastal, marine), promoting a holistic approach.
  3. Addressing dual nature of restoration: Restoration should aim for both ecological recovery and rehabilitation, balancing natural and human needs.
  4. Matching targets: GBF Target 2 is connected to other biodiversity goals, emphasizing the importance of an integrated approach.
  5. Contributing to SDGs: Ecosystem restoration can support multiple Sustainable Development Goals, offering wide-ranging benefits.

Having a target is one thing; acting upon it is another. Countries need to define clear, measurable actions, gather resources, forge partnerships, and build capacity to implement these. And while area under restoration is a notable indicator, the emphasis should also be on the quality of restoration, ensuring that ecosystems are not just rejuvenated but thrive.

Understanding the challenge at hand, FAO has been actively supporting Target 2 Indicator development, Through the Task Force for Monitoring and building on the Framework for Ecosystem Restoration Monitoring (FERM) developed for the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and FERM: a global rallying call

Three years ago, the UN General Assembly adopted the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, aiming to halt the degradation of ecosystems and undertake global restoration efforts until 2030. Parallel in ambition to GBF Target 2, the decade (2021-2030) strives to rejuvenate ecosystems, ensuring a better future for all.

FAO plays a pivotal role by leading two technical taskforces, focusing on monitoring progress and identifying best practices. With the combined input of 400 experts spanning grassroots movements, governments, regional and global organizations, the task force on monitoring envisions a future where effective monitoring would not only encourage investments but also guarantee science-driven actions.

With this goal in mind, in 2021, FAO introduced the FERM platform as a tool for transparently monitoring the ambitious commitment by governments to restore 1 billion hectares of land. FERM encourages the use of open-access data and geospatial information. It recognizes that effective planning, robust monitoring, and transparent reporting are essential for transitioning from restoration commitments to concrete actions. FERM's primary objectives are to facilitate collaboration, provide access to data and technology, and streamline reporting processes.

The platform enables countries to report restoration progress within both the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework and the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, eliminating the country reporting burden and creating an interoperability framework with other restoration platforms for unified data collection, reporting and feedback.

Next steps on the Target 2 roadmap to COP 16

While a lot has been achieved, there is still a substantial amount of work left to be done. The discussions will continue through a series of technical events and workshops involving countries and various partners, including SBSTA25 in October and the Target 2 technical meeting scheduled for November 2023 at FAO headquarters in Rome. Through these events, the parties will delve further into ecosystem restoration, planning, monitoring and capacity needs as described in the Roadmap for Target 2.

For 2023 and beyond, regional capacity development events, e-learning modules on restoration planning and monitoring, and capacity development webinars are on the horizon. Efforts will be focused on ensuring collaboration with regional and subregional partners to tailor capacity needs according to specific regions and ensuring further synergies between the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and Target 2 ambitions.

As COP16 approaches at the end of 2024, nations will submit their national targets (NBSAPS). Looking ahead to 2025, nations will prepare for the seventh national Report, with submissions due in 2026. By then, nations are expected to have set targets and are actively monitoring and reporting progress against these targets.

In these pivotal moments, as the world navigates its biodiversity challenges, collaboration and capacity development is key, as this shared responsibility knows no borders, sectors, and disciplines. The synergy of ideas, resources, and actions will be imperative to turn the vision of thriving ecosystems into a shared reality.



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