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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
Desertification Convention Breaks New Ground

Changwon City, Republic of Korea, 22 October 2011 – "This session will be remembered as the session that has brought a lot of innovation both in the actions proposed and the way parties interact among themselves. We have brought together the pieces that will enable the engine called science to move this process forward. We have dealt with knotty issues of institutional governance. The COP's high level segment showed an unmatched level of political will and there is a renewed spirit of international cooperation," said UNCCD Executive Secretary, Luc Gnacadja. Some of the COP10 achievements mark a first among the three environmental conventions of climate change, biodiversity and desertification that emerged from Rio in 1992. Speaking at the end of the two week COP in Changwon City on Saturday morning, Mr. Gnacadja commended the parties for agreeing on a set of tools to measure the impact of their work, a first for the Rio Conventions, and the frameworks to address the foremost effects of climate change, food security and gender among the affected populations. "We have brought on board this process, business community, which is part of the problem, but can be a greater part of the solution, and we have put forward a strong message for the Rio+20 process to ensure sustainable land management is a cornerstone of the green economy," he added. Mr. Gnacadja said the COP10 outcomes will have a positive impact on the situation of the over 1.5 billion people who directly depend on degrading land for their livelihoods, and on the ecosystems affected by land degradation. Every year, 12 million hectares of land are lost through desertification and drought. Policy-making in the climate change and biodiversity Convention processes is backed by a strong independent science and knowledge community. Without a similar mechanism, policy-making in the desertification and land degradation process has often faltered. Progress has also been constrained by an institutional governance arrangement that has the left parties divided on crucial questions such as the accountability and financing of its bodies, and the support they give to affected developing country Parties. Both challenges were largely addressed at COP10. In what was widely seen as a very positive COP, attended by more than 6,000 people including over 80 ministers, deputy ministers and civil society representatives, as well as nearly 100 businesses representatives, Mr. Gnacadja said "the Changwon Initiative introduced by the COP10 Presidency will ensure that these outcomes do not end up on the shelves. They will be carried forward both in future scientific work and complement activities that could be considered in line with the Strategy laid out for 2008-2018." Highlighting what he termed one of his favorite outcomes because it strikes at the heart of the problem, Mr. Gnacadja said the Land for Life Award unveiled at the session "is for the 21st Century Heroes," who are conserving the land and preventing its degradation "against all odds of life. The odds of nature, such as climate change…of policy failure, such as neglect...of poverty, with no financial investments and incentives." In another first among comparable international environmental treaties, the emerging economies of Turkey, the Republic of Korea and Qatar made commitments to support the implementation of the Convention in affected developing countries. Under the treaty, these countries have no obligation to support other developing countries. The President of COP 10, Lee Don Koo, Minister, Korea Forest Service, said "the Conference performed its role as the place for environmental diplomacy. Countries from Africa, South Asia, Central and South America showed deep interest in Korea's greening success and asked to share our technology, knowhow and support in afforestation." "It provided an opportunity for raising awareness of desertification in the northeast Asian region such as China, Mongolia, and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Till now, the awareness of the desertification problem has been mainly focused on Africa," he said. Further, Dr. Lee said, "COP10 will be remembered as a turning point for the Convention both on the key topics and process." Stressing that he will make every effort to concretize the Changwon Initiative, he said "it will bring a paradigm shift" that could lead to the achievement of a global target of zero net land degradation. The Land for Life Award, which was launched during this COP, is for emulation in order to promote proactive actions that deserve global recognition, he said. The participation of the business community will serve as a major platform to drive the private sector in combatting desertification, land degradation and drought, Dr. Lee added. As the president of the UNCCD COP 10 for the next two years, Dr. Lee pledged that his country would work hard "to fulfill our duties as President and play the leading role in combating desertification, land degradation and mitigating the effects of drought." The tenth session of the COP, held from 11-21 October, was attended by 161 Parties to the Convention, and was the first to be held in Asia. It was addressed by high-raking political figures and officials, including Mr. Kim Hwang-sik, Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. COP10 was held two weeks after a related gathering of over 100 heads of state, government and delegations at the UN headquarters in New York on 20 September, which focused on "addressing desertification, land degradation and drought in the context of sustainable land management and poverty reduction." Mr. Nassir Albdulaziz Al-Nasser, President of the sixty-sixth session of the UN General Assembly, presented the outcomes of the high-level meeting at COP10. About the UNCCD Desertification, along with climate change and the loss of biodiversity, were identified as the greatest challenges to sustainable development during the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. Established in 1994, UNCCD is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment, development and the promotion of healthy soils. The Convention’s 194 signatory Parties work to alleviate poverty in the drylands, maintain and restore the land’s productivity, and mitigate the effects of drought. For more information, please contact: Ms Wagaki Mwangi Tel: +49-228-815-2820 Email: wmwangi@unccd.int

Desertification Convention Breaks New Ground
World business leaders launch Sustainable Land Management Business Forum

​Private sector involvement in sustainable land management vital to ensuring future of productive lands around the world Changwon, Republic of Korea, 19 October 2011 - Nearly 100 business leaders have declared their support to combat land degradation and restore productive lands during the tenth session of the Conference of the Partiesto the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). Over the next 25 years land degradation could reduce global food production by as much as 12 per cent leading to a 30 per cent increase in world food prices. More than 12 million hectares of productive land are lost due to desertification every year. While productive land becomes scarcer, providing food for the 9 billion people predicted to live on Earth in 2050 will require a 70 per cent increase in global food production. With the need growing for a diminishing natural resource, the private sector must be included to ensure protection of productive lands and restoration of degraded lands. "Sustainability is the opportunity for the 21st century,"UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja said at the opening of the forum. "Businesses should be encouraged to adopt a precautionary approach to land management and to move towards 'zero net land degradation.'" The forum gathered representatives from related companies and organisations, including Yuhan-Kimberly, Cargill Korea, Ellion Resources Group and KPMG, to examine the challenges associated with corporate activities on land and soil and to showcase best practices and lessons learned from businesses. Designed as a private-sector-led initiative and voluntary action platform, participants noted that current environmental challenges cannot be solved without dynamic private sector involvement. Participants emphasised the critical role of the business community can play in addressing desertification, land degradation and drought. To catalyse long-term business engagement in land stewardship and to make the forum a lasting body, participants adopted the "Gyeongnam Declaration." The declaration stressed the need to reach a land degradation neutral world. It also contained a set of commitments agreed by the forum's business leaders. "In the declaration all of our thoughts are reflected, and I believe this declaration embodies our spirit," Kook-Hyun Moon, President of the New Paradigm Institute, said. "Soil and the body is not two but one. Soil is the soul of the land and with the soil the land will be useless in the same way that without the soul the body will be useless". The Gyeongnam Declaration is based in five main pillars: raising awareness within the private sector on the importance of land and the problems of desertification, land degradation and drought; promoting an effective public-private corporation to combat desertification; working together with governments to integrate the advanced technologies and creativity of business community and civil society in decision-making; Involving the universities and academia in the development of schemes that promote innovative business ventures aiming at sustainable land management;and encouraging the governments to develop new policies and incentives related to sustainable land management. The forum, which took place from 17-18 October, was organized by Korea Forest Service of the Republic of Korea, the New Paradigm Institute and UNCCD. About the UNCCD Desertification, along with climate change and the loss of biodiversity, were identified as the greatest challenges to sustainable development during the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. Established in 1994, UNCCD is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment, development and the promotion of healthy soils. The Convention's 194 signatory Parties work to alleviate poverty in the drylands, maintain and restore the land's productivity, and mitigate the effects of drought. For more information, please visit http://www.unccd.int/cop/cop10/menu.php Or contact Mr. Marcos Montoiro, tel: +49-228-815-2826, email: mmontoiro@unccd.int Mr. Kook-Hyun Moon, tel: +822 2646 2001, email: moonkhorea@yahoo.co.kr

World business leaders launch Sustainable Land Management Business Forum
Land for Life Award seeks nominees for prize worth up to USD 100 000 to scale up sustainable land management

​Award announced to recognise significant and innovative contributions to reversing land desertification, land degradation and drought Changwon, Republic of Korea, 19 October 2011 – Seeking to promote efforts for sustainable land management, the Land for Life Award was launched at the tenth session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). The Land for Life Award will provide global recognition to individuals, teams, institutions, businesses, research institutes, public offices, political leaders, decision-makers, journalists, media, nongovernmental organizations and civil society organizations whose work and initiatives have made a significant and innovative contribution to sustainable land management. The Award will reward initiatives which contribute directly or indirectly to the regeneration and/or enhancement of soils' natural health and productive capacity or to the sustainable regeneration of depleted or drought affected lands. It recognizes innovative achievements which favour collaborative schemes, partnership-building across sectors, free knowledge sharing and capacity building, empowerment of vulnerable and marginalized groups and communities, and which foster gender equality, cultural diversity and social inclusion. In 2012, three awards will be granted from an amount up to USD 100,000. The use of the award money is limited to scaling-up the award-winning sustainable land management activity. The recipients of the Award will receive rewards in accordance to the kind of activities for which they are honoured, and free transportation and accommodation to attend the presentation ceremony on the occasion of the 11thsession of the UNCCD's next Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention. The laureates will be notified in June 2012. A jury to determine winners will be composed of qualified and geographically balanced experts and renowned men and women in the field of development, sustainable land management and soil science. About the UNCCD Desertification, along with climate change and the loss of biodiversity, were identified as the greatest challenges to sustainable development during the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. Established in 1994, UNCCD is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment, development and the promotion of healthy soils. The Convention's 194 signatory Parties work to alleviate poverty in the drylands, maintain and restore the land's productivity, and mitigate the effects of drought. For more information contact Ms. Yukie Hori, tel: +49 228 8152829, email: yhori@unccd.int

Land for Life Award seeks nominees for prize worth up to USD 100 000 to scale up sustainable land management
World business leaders launch Sustainable Land Management Business Forum

Private sector involvement in sustainable land management vital to ensuring future of productive lands around the world Changwon, Republic of Korea, 19 October 2011 – Nearly 100 business leaders have declared their support to combat land degradation and restore productive lands during the tenth session of the Conference of the Partiesto the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). Over the next 25 years land degradation could reduce global food production by as much as 12 per cent leading to a 30 per cent increase in world food prices. More than 12 million hectares of productive land are lost due to desertification every year. While productive land becomes scarcer, providing food for the 9 billion people predicted to live on Earth in 2050 will require a 70 per cent increase in global food production. With the need growing for a diminishing natural resource, the private sector must be included to ensure protection of productive lands and restoration of degraded lands. "Sustainability is the opportunity for the 21st century,"UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja said at the opening of the forum. "Businesses should be encouraged to adopt a precautionary approach to land management and to move towards 'zero net land degradation.'" The forum gathered representatives from related companies and organisations, including Yuhan-Kimberly, Cargill Korea, Ellion Resources Group and KPMG, to examine the challenges associated with corporate activities on land and soil and to showcase best practices and lessons learned from businesses. Designed as a private-sector-led initiative and voluntary action platform, participants noted that current environmental challenges cannot be solved without dynamic private sector involvement. Participants emphasised the critical role of the business community can play in addressing desertification, land degradation and drought. To catalyse long-term business engagement in land stewardship and to make the forum a lasting body, participants adopted the "Gyeongnam Declaration." The declaration stressed the need to reach a land degradation neutral world. It also contained a set of commitments agreed by the forum's business leaders. "In the declaration all of our thoughts are reflected, and I believe this declaration embodies our spirit," Kook-Hyun Moon, President of the New Paradigm Institute, said. "Soil and the body is not two but one. Soil is the soul of the land and with the soil the land will be useless in the same way that without the soul the body will be useless". The Gyeongnam Declaration is based in five main pillars: raising awareness within the private sector on the importance of land and the problems of desertification, land degradation and drought; promoting an effective public-private corporation to combat desertification; working together with governments to integrate the advanced technologies and creativity of business community and civil society in decision-making; Involving the universities and academia in the development of schemes that promote innovative business ventures aiming at sustainable land management;and encouraging the governments to develop new policies and incentives related to sustainable land management. The forum, which took place from 17-18 October, was organized by Korea Forest Service of the Republic of Korea, the New Paradigm Institute and UNCCD. About the UNCCD Desertification, along with climate change and the loss of biodiversity, were identified as the greatest challenges to sustainable development during the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. Established in 1994, UNCCD is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment, development and the promotion of healthy soils. The Convention's 194 signatory Parties work to alleviate poverty in the drylands, maintain and restore the land's productivity, and mitigate the effects of drought. For more information, please visit http://www.unccd.int/cop/cop10/menu.php Or contact Mr. Marcos Montoiro, tel: +49 228 8152826, email: mmontoiro@unccd.int Mr. Kook-Hyun Moon, tel: +822 2646 2001, email: moonkhorea@yahoo.co.kr

World business leaders launch Sustainable Land Management Business Forum