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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
2012 World Day to Combat Desertification Calls For Land Degradation Neutrality

Bonn, Germany, 17 February 2012 – The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) announced the theme for the 2012 World Day to Combat Desertification, which will be celebrated on 17 June all over the world. UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja presented the slogan for the 2012 World Day to Combat Desertification – “Healthy soil sustains your life: LET’S GO LAND-DEGRADATION NEUTRAL”.  “Fertile soil is a finite and irreplaceable resource, which feeds seven million people today and is expected to feed nine billion in 2050. It is a common wealth that provides us not only with food, but also secures water and energy for present and future generations”, Mr. Gnacadja said. “But soil’s caring capacity is often forgotten in global policies for sustainable development. Therefore, the international community should set a zero-net land degradation target. This target can be achieved by sustaining healthy soil and restoring degraded land. We should start with drylands, which support half of the world’s food production systems and are highly vulnerable to desertification, and then adopt successful practices elsewhere.” At the UN General Assembly High-level Meeting on “addressing desertification, land degradation and drought in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication” in September 2011, many world leaders said that the commitment to build a land-degradation neutral world should become an important outcome of the Rio+20. During this meeting, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for sustainable land-use to become “a cornerstone of the green economy for poverty eradication and sustainable development”. The global observance of the World Day to Combat Desertification this year is planned in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the Sunday before the start of the Rio+20 Conference. Notes to Editors: About UNCCD Established in 1994, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development issues to the land agenda. The UNCCD addresses specifically the arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, known as the drylands. The Convention’s 194 Parties are working to improve the living conditions in the drylands, to maintain and restore land and soil productivity, and to mitigate the effects of drought. About World Day to Combat Desertification In 1994, the United Nations General Assembly declared 17 June the "World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought" to promote public awareness and the implementation of the UNCCD in the desertification affected countries. Since 1995, Parties to the Convention, the United Nations organizations, international and non-governmental organizations have celebrated 17 June with a series of outreach activities worldwide. The World Day to Combat Desertification is a unique occasion to remind global community that desertification can be effectively tackled, that solutions are possible, and that key tools to this aim lay in strengthened community participation and cooperation at all levels. About Rio+20 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. For more information, please see the concept note on the 2012 World Day to Combat Desertification: Contact: Ms Wagaki Mwangi Public Information and Media Officer UNCCD Secretariat Tel: +49-228-815-2820 E-mail: wmwangi@unccd.int

2012 World Day to Combat Desertification Calls For Land Degradation Neutrality
Webinar on Desertification and Citizen Action

Bonn, Germany, 14 February 2012 – UNCCD Secretariat with EarthAction and The Global Citizens Initiative (TGCI) will organize a Virtual World Community Forum on Desertification and Citizen Action – Saving the Life-Giving Soils of the World that will take place Tuesday, February 28 through Tuesday, March 6, 2012. This online forum is being made available at no cost to participants.

Webinar on Desertification and Citizen Action
Two Weeks Left to Apply for the Land for Life Award

Rewarding leadership for sustainable land management Bonn, Germany, 9 February 2012 – Applications for the 2012 Land for Life Award are now open. The award will go to inspiring initiatives which secure the health and productivity of soil for the well-being of present and future generations. The prize will be awarded to those efforts which reduce land degradation through sustainable land management, or are outstanding examples of political leadership, policy, business, advocacy campaigns or scientific research. More on criteria. The Jury particularly welcomes nominations of candidates whose work is: innovative, collaborative, achieved in partnership across sectors, supports free knowledge sharing and capacity building, empowers vulnerable and marginalized groups, and fosters gender equality, cultural diversity and social inclusion. Three awards will be granted in 2012 from a total prize fund of up to USD 100,000. The deadline for applications is 29 February 2012. Nominations are welcome from: individuals institutions non-governmental organizations and civil society private sector academic and research organizations policy makers journalists and media Winners will be announced on the World Day to Combat Desertification,17 June 2012.

Two Weeks Left to Apply for the Land for Life Award
Gone Too Soon

Bonn, Germany, 1 February 2012 – The following message is an excerpt from the condolence letter addressed to His Excellency Dr. Lee Don Koo, Minister of Korea Forest Service, Republic of Korea: It is with deep sadness that I would like to offer to you, on behalf of the United Nations Conventions to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and myself our sincere condolences for the death of Dr. Eun-ho Im. Dr. Im worked tirelessly for the preparation and successful organisation of the UNCCD Conference of the Parties held in your country last October. He also played an instrumental role in promoting the UNCCD in the Republic of Korea. His passing away is a tragic loss for the Republic of Korea and the Asia Region as a whole. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very sad moment. May Dr. Im rest in peace. Luc Gnacadja Executive Secretary

Gone Too Soon