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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
Miss Universe 2011 Leila Lopes Appointed Drylands Ambassador

Bonn, Germany/New York, United States, 16 November 2011 – The Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Luc Gnacadja, has named Leila Lopes, Miss Universe 2011, as the Drylands Ambassador of the Convention. Drylands Ambassadors are appointed to take a lead in raising international awareness of land degradation, its causes and possible solutions. The other recent appointees are Dr Dennis Garrity, outgoing Director General of the World Agroforestry Centre, South African gospel singer Deborah Fraser, and Spanish football star Carlos Marchena. "Miss Lopes comes from the African region where desertification, meaning the degradation of the land in the dryland areas, is the foremost environmental challenge. Part of her home country of Angola is threatened by desertification," said Mr Gnacadja during the announcement. Recent studies show that up to 2 billion hectares of degraded land and forest globally have the potential for restoration. "Land degradation entrenches affected populations into poverty, food insecurity and hunger and corrodes the three pillars of sustainable development. Achieving the change needed will take strong advocacy and outreach, but for long-term sustainability to be achieved three things are essential," Mr Gnacadja said. "We must commit to making the world land degradation neutral through preventive actions and by restoring an equivalent amount of the land we degrade every year. We must cultivate a culture of innovation and knowledge sharing required for an effective land stewardship, and we must contribute to the mainstreaming of sustainable land management techniques. The influence and aura that the Drylands Ambassadors possess can help us to achieve this essential endeavor for our common future, and we are delighted that Miss Lopes has agreed to be a part of this cause." Accepting the appointment, Miss Lopes said: "I am humbled and honored to be called upon to serve as a Drylands Ambassador for the Convention. This is an opportunity for me to be another voice for attending to land degradation and desertification throughout the world in order to create awareness on this important policy issue. By sharing knowledge and working together, we can help secure the health and productivity of all the drylands." Miss Lopes was crowned Miss Universe 2011 in São Paulo, Brazil, on September 12, 2011 after beating 88 competitors. Prior to being crowned, Miss Lopes held the title of Miss Angola Universe and was active with various social causes in her country. She worked with poor children and the elderly, as well as helped educate the Angolan community about HIV/AIDS. These are all concerns that resonate with a majority of the 1.5 billion poor people around the world who live off degrading land. In addition to speaking on behalf of these populations, the appointment of Miss Lopes as the Drylands Ambassador to advance the cause of the world becoming land degradation neutral enables her to fight for future generations, ensuring that we are good stewards of the land they have entrusted to us. For more information about Drylands ambassadors, or interviews with the UNCCD Executive Secretary contact: Ms Wagaki Mwangi Tel: +49 228 8152820 Email: wmwangi@unccd.int For interviews with the Miss Universe, contact: Ms Brenda C. Mendoza Tel: + 1-212-373 4983 Email: bmendoza@missuniverse.com

Miss Universe 2011 Leila Lopes Appointed Drylands Ambassador