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Unlocking the Investment Potential of Forest & Landscape Restoration

“Eighty percent of the potential land suitable for forest and landscape restoration (FLR) can be found in drylands”, said Eduardo Rojas, Assistant Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), during the closing session of a two-days expert consultation on Private investments in Forest and Landscape Restoration (FLR), co-organized by FAO and the Global Mechanism of the UNCCD on 30 June and 1 July 2015 in Rome, Italy. Rojas also underlined that FLR contributes to the provision of livelihood opportunities for communities in rural areas and the reduction of forced migration. The workshop brought together some 30 international experts from multilateral, bilateral and non-governmental organizations, research institutes and the private sector to identify ways for increasing private sector investments in FLR. Currently, it is estimated that 12 million hectares of land are degraded every year, resulting in a total stock of more than two billion hectares of degraded land that offer opportunities for restoration, and three quarters of this area being suitable for mosaic restoration.  Initiatives around the world aim at up-scaling FLR in order to contribute to global ecosystem restoration goals and promote land degradation neutrality. Impact investors like the Moringa Fund invest in agroforestry systems such as coffee plantations in order to promote sound and viable management strategies at landscape level. Private companies such as EcoPlanet Bamboo promote largescale bamboo restoration for the production of fibre. At the same time, regional initiatives such as TerrAfrica in Africa and “Initiative 20 by 20” in Latin America, as well as national initiatives such as Payment for Environmental Services for sustainable cork oak production in Portugal, supported by WWF and Coca Cola, offer a variety of mechanisms to upscale investments in FLR. The workshop identified concrete opportunities to upscale FLR, for example through aggregating financial resources at landscape level, bringing together different stakeholders and sectors involved, thus preventing inter-sectoral or resource-use conflicts. However, participants also highlighted that certain key conditions must be in place in order to tap into increased finance for FLR, including an adequate enabling investment environment, the existence of local champions with the necessary skills, and the availability of bankable investment proposals that focus on promising value chains within landscapes. Missing information on possible returns on investments (e.g. ex-ante cost benefit analysis) as well as investment risk assessment and mitigation mechanisms, unclear tenure situation, and lack of coherence among possible investors and landowners/users have been highlighted among the key barriers that need to be overcome for increased investments in FLR. In order to identify key action required to upscale FLR, FAO and the GM of the UNCCD – through its Rome Liaison Office - established a partnership to deliver a Discussion Paper on “Sustainable Finance for FLR”. The paper will review best available information, discuss issues and success stories related to FLR funding, and assess opportunities to increase access to financing in support to FLR implementation at scale. The workshop report and the Discussion Paper will be made available soon on the FAO and GM websites. All the material from the workshop, including background papers and presentations, is also available via at the links below.   Related links: Workshop materials and presentations The FAO FLR Mechanism The Global Partnership on Forest and Landscape Restoration The Bonn Challenge

Unlocking the Investment Potential of Forest & Landscape Restoration
The Global Mechanism supports forest and landscape restoration processes

“The UNCCD and its 195 country Parties work with a broad range of stakeholders not only to protect and sustainably manage land resources, but also to rehabilitate degraded land. On 20 and 21 March, the Bonn Challenge 2.0   – a high level summit – brought together governments and international organizations committed to achieving a clear vision: to restore 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested land by 2020. Of the 2 billion hectares with restoration potential, identified by the Bonn Challenge, 75% are considered mixed-use or “working” landscapes, in which people manage the land as a mosaic of multiple uses, increasing productivity in a sustainable manner while protecting natural capital for future generations. With the Bonn Challenge as a backdrop, the Global Mechanism (GM) of the UNCCD hosted two meetings which contributed to this process and also promoted relevant operational synergies between UNCCD priorities and those of relevant partner institutions working on forest and landscape restoration efforts at the country level: On 19 and 20 March, the GM hosted a meeting of the Global Partnership on Forest and Landscape Restoration (GPFLR), of which it is a member. This technical meeting brought together representatives from IUCN, UNEP, WRI, USDA Forest Service, the Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs, IUFRO, FAO, UNEP-WCMC, CIFOR, the CBD secretariat, ICRAF, and the GM/UNCCD.  It took stock of the work of GPFLR members to date, and discussed how this partnership could evolve in the near future in order to best mobilize the knowledge and expertise of its members in support of forest and landscape restoration activities on the ground. On 21 March, the GM also hosted a meeting of the Forest Ecosystem Restoration Initiative (FERI), bringing together representatives from the CBD secretariat, the Republic of Korea’s Forest Service, Biodiversity International, UNEP-WCMC, IUFRO, FAO, CIFOR, ICRAF, ITTO, IUCN, the GEF, WRI, and the GM/UNCCD. Following the official launch of FERI at the CBD COP 12 in Korea in October 2014, this was its first operational meeting, which further defined the involvement of relevant partner organizations and the scope of upcoming activities, including the organization of relevant capacity building workshops, the assessment of degradation and restoration potential at (sub)national level, and the provision and coordination of technical support.”

The Global Mechanism supports forest and landscape restoration processes
Ten Million People at risk as East Africa faces worst drought in 60 Years, WMO-UNCCD action underway

Geneva, Switzerland/Bonn, Germany, 1 August 2011 – The latest famine in Somalia has put a spotlight on the urgent need to develop national and regional drought policies, according to the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, which are jointly leading the international action to address the growing impact of droughts. Drought is expected to continue in hard-hit southern Somalia during August and September, as well as parts of Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya, according to the latest WMO Climate Outlook Forum for the region, which provides regional climate forecasts. The IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) already called for preparedness for an ongoing long period of drought over parts of the equatorial region in its climate update for the Greater Horn of Africa on 15 January 2011. Droughts have become more common over the past two decades. This is consistent with reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, stating that the world has become more drought-prone over the last 25 years, and will see an increased frequency of droughts in the future. "Droughts do not happen overnight," said Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), responding to the declaration of famine by the United Nations earlier this month. "The UNCCD joins the calls on the international community to respond urgently to this crisis. At the same time, we stress the need for effective, long-term solutions to the root causes of famine in drought-prone regions, such as implementation of drought management systems and measures to stop desertification, which means land degradation in drylands." "We are moving forward quickly to provide integrated drought information to help decision-makers deal with drought, such as the one underway right now in East Africa," said Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization. "Drought is a serious and growing problem in many countries. Adaptation to drought, desertification and climate change urgently needs to be mainstreamed in national development policies." Mr Gnacadja visited Mr Jarraud at WMO earlier this month to discuss cooperation between the two organizations, following the UN declaration of famine for two provinces in southern Somalia on 13 July 2011. The two organizations have a long-standing partnership. Most recently they have championed the use of the Standard Precipitation Index, as a universal meteorological drought index to improve monitoring and climate risk management among countries. "It's high time for UN joint action on droughts," said Mr Jarraud. "We need more coordinated action for monitoring and early warning systems that deliver timely information to decision-makers; improved impact assessment procedures; pro-active risk management measures and preparedness plans; and stronger emergency response programmes." WMO is working with its scientific network to offer the best policy advice available on drought management. A WMO international meeting on national drought policies, hosted by George Mason University (USA) on 14-15 July 2011, outlined steps for countries to learn from each other to reduce drought risks. WMO is compiling a "best-practices" compendium to help countries move rapidly to develop their own national drought policies appropriate to their local conditions. As part of this process, WMO and UNCCD will lead international discussions in November to build integrated drought information systems. To this end, the two organizations, along with Morocco's national meteorological service and the US National Integrated Drought Information System, are organizing an international symposium in Casablanca, Morocco from 9 to 11 November 2011. World Meteorological Organization is the United Nations System's authoritative voice on Weather, Climate and Water The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment, development and the promotion of healthy soils. The UNCCD focuses on the drylands, which cover 41% of the Earth and are inhabited by over 2 billion people, and works to alleviate poverty in the drylands, maintain and restore the land's productivity, and mitigate the effects of drought. For more information, please contact: At World Meteorological Organization: Carine Richard-Van Maele Chief, Communications and Public Affairs Tel: +41 22 7308315 email: cpa@wmo.int Clare Nullis Press Officer, Communications and Public Affairs Tel: +41 22 7308478; 41 79 7091397 (cell) email: cnullis@wmo.int web: www.wmo.int At UNCCD: Yukie Hori, Coordinator, Awareness Raising, Communication and Education Unit Tel. +49 228 8152829

Ten Million People at risk as East Africa faces worst drought in 60 Years, WMO-UNCCD action underway