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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 Starts Her Role as Drylands Ambassador

New York, United States, 31 January 2012 – On 24th January 2012, Miss Universe 2011, Leila Lopes, Drylands Ambassador visited the New York Liaison Office of the UNCCD. She was accompanied by Brenda C. Mendoza, Director, Public Relations from the Miss Universe Organisation. This is the first visit by Miss Universe to the UNCCD secretariat since her appointment as Drylands Ambassador. She was received by the officer in charge Ms. Nandhini Iyer Krishna who is also a joint staff of the UNCCD and CBD. Miss Universe received a detailed briefing on the work of the UNCCD Convention secretariat, and the importance of issues relating to Drought, Land Degradation and Desertification as part of her assumption of her duties as Drylands Ambassador. Miss Lopes is the first Miss Universe to be appointed as Drylands Ambassador and in that capacity will take a lead in raising international awareness about desertification, land degradation and drought, causes and possible solutions. Miss Lopes comes from the African region where desertification, is the foremost environmental challenge. Part of her home country of Angola is threatened by desertification. She hopes to advance the cause by promoting a land degradation neutral world. By ensuring that land we lose due to degradation is compensated by the land we reclaim or improve we can make sure that we are good stewards of the land for future generations for whom we hold it in trust.

Miss Universe 2011 Starts Her Role as Drylands Ambassador
The United Nations Releases Rio Plus 20 Zero Draft “The Future We Want”

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 13 January 2012 – The United Nations has released the draft document that will be negotiated by governments and adopted by the heads of state and government during the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 20-22 June 2012. The 20-page document, which will serve as a decision-making framework, highlights national and international political determination to pursue a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication. The zero draft, as it is referred to, calls for enhanced support by the international community in the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). The document recognizes the economic and social significance of land and its impact on growth, food security and poverty eradication. It highlights the intensity of land degradation and desertification on most of Africa’s arable land as a serious challenge to sustainable development. The zero draft also highlights the need to support partnerships and initiatives for the safeguarding of soil resources and scientific studies aimed at raising global awareness of the economic benefits of sustainable land management. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he hopes that the UNCSD, popularly known as Rio Plus 20 (Rio+20), would result in an agreement with Sustainable Development Goals. The UNCCD has called for Rio+20 to put an end to the unrelenting pace of land degradation by agreeing on a goal and target. The draft also outlines the urgent need for the engagement of all major stakeholders – civil society, governments and private sector – in order to eradicate poverty, achieve food security, guarantee effective water and energy management, public health, inclusive and equitable growth. Notes to Editors: The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), also known as Rio+20, will take place in Brazil on 20-22 June 2012. It will mark the 20th anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, and the 10th anniversary of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg. The Conference will result in a political document, which will renew political commitment for sustainable development, assess the progress to date and address new and emerging challenges.

The United Nations Releases Rio Plus 20 Zero Draft “The Future We Want”
 Cape Verde Minister Visits Bonn

Bonn, Germany, 25 January 2012 – The Minister of Rural Development and Agriculture of Cape Verde, Ms. Eva Ortet, visited the secretariat on 23 January 2012. During the exchange with the Executive Secretary the discussion focused on the significant efforts and successes achieved by the Rep. of Cape Verde in the areas of reforestation, land reclamation and the integrated management of scarce water resources. They also discussed preparatory activities at the Rio + 20 Summit (June 2012), and the possible role of the CPLP countries that are all facing desertification, land degradation and recurrent droughts.

 Cape Verde Minister Visits Bonn
Chad Parliamentarians in Bonn for Working Session

  25 January 2012, Bonn, Germany, 25 January 2012 – Hon. Dr. Haroun Kabadi, President of the National Assembly of Chad and recently elected Chair of the Steering Committee of the UNCCD Parliamentarian Forum was joined by Madame Khadidja Hassaballah and Mr. Keda Ballah, Members of the National Assembly for in-depth discussions with Luc Gnacadja at the UNCCD secretariat. The consultation covered practical measures needed to follow up on the declaration made by the 9th Parliamentarian Round Table, held at COP 10 in Changwon; upcoming activities of the Steering Committee of the Parliamentarian Forum; the role of the UNCCD at UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20) and operationalization of the Convention in Chad.    

Chad Parliamentarians in Bonn for Working Session