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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
Rio Conventions Join Forces for Sustainable Development and the Future We Want

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 13 June 2012 – At the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), the secretariats of the biodiversity, climate change and desertification conventions and the Global Environment Facility are joining forces under the Rio Conventions Pavilion to promote implementation of these three multilateral environmental agreements on sustainable development. The 1992 Rio Earth Summit gave rise to the three Rio Conventions:  the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). Twenty years on, partners from around the world are back in Rio de Janeiro to take stock of the ways these agreements have enabled the world to address the interrelated challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss and combating desertification and land degradation. Running from 13 to 22 June in a dedicated space in Athletes Park adjacent to the conference centre, the Pavilion comprises daily events highlighting themes and cross-cutting issues relevant to the Rio+20 Conference and to achieving synergies between the three conventions. The Pavilion opens on 13 June with the Earth Negotiations Bulletin’s (ENB) “curtain-raiser” for the Rio+20 conference. A new mobile application designed for smartphones will be launched at the Pavilion that evening.  During the Pavilion, ENB will provide daily coverage of its events at: http://www.iisd.ca/uncsd/rio20/pavilion/?utm_source=www.iisd.org&utm_medium=web&utm_content=events&utm_campaign=uncsd2012  Themes will focus on Africa, Indigenous and Local Communities (both on 14 June), Oceans (16 June), global celebration of the World Day on Desertification (17 June), business and sustainable development (18 June), mainstreaming the issue of gender in the implementation of the Conventions (20 June), and the role of cities (22 June). A series of high-level events will be held on 21 June to mark the twentieth anniversary of the three conventions. As one of many highlights of the ten-day programme, on 20 June Lord Nicholas Stern, Pavan Sukhdev and Jeffrey Sachs, the study leaders of ground breaking economic assessments on the issues addressed by each of the three conventions, will, for the first time, meet in a joint panel moderated by Caroline Spelman, UK Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary to the Convention on Biological Diversity said:  “We cannot afford to wait any longer to tackle the interlinked challenges of climate change, land degradation and biodiversity loss through concerted action at global, national and local levels. Rio+20 is an historic opportunity to learn what has worked well, and what has not, and to redouble our efforts to build the Future We Want. The Rio Conventions Pavilion is a key space to support this dialogue.” Christiana Figueres, UNFCCC Executive Secretary said: "Global efforts to combat climate change, along with those to slow desertification and biodiversity loss, are pointing in the right direction, and governments are in many cases designing increasingly ambitious national policies. But we urgently need to accelerate the pace and scope of what is being done today to safeguard the future we want. All areas of society have crucial roles to play. At the pavilion, we will for example be showcasing the potential of business to act and demonstrate how momentum for change is building via public- private partnerships. And we will address the crucial role women play in making their societies more climate-resilient."  Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary to the UNCCD said: “Efforts to combat desertification by fostering sustainable land management practices have potential co-benefits for climate change adaptation, biodiversity conservation and sustainable use through protecting and restoring the productive potential in drylands.” GEF CEO and Chairperson, Monique Barbut said: “The GEF came into being the year before the first Earth Summit but it was here that we really got our mission as the financing mechanism for the three Rio Conventions. In becoming the largest public funder of projects to protect the global environment, we have moved far along the path of scaling up projects and developing synergies linking biodiversity conservation, climate change and sustainable land management. The GEF’s solid relationships with donor and developing nations, NGOS and local communities have helped make us both a provider and a catalyst of investment in the environment. The leverage generated by these relationships is what helps the GEF make such a significant contribution to sustainable development.” The Pavilion will host presentations, discussions and panels covering the successes of integrating climate change, biodiversity and sustainable land management into sustainable development policies.  The Pavilion at the Rio + 20 conference has been made possible by the strong support of the Government of Brazil, along with substantial contributions from the UK, Germany, the Republic of Korea, Norway and other partners. The Programme for the Pavilion at Rio + 20 can be found at: www.riopavilion.org/programme/ Follow the Pavilion on twitter at: https://twitter.com/#!/RioPavilion Notes for editors The Rio Conventions Pavilion is a platform for raising awareness and sharing information about the latest practices and scientific findings on the co-benefits that can be realized through implementation of the three Rio Conventions. The Pavilion is a collaborative effort between the Secretariats of the three Rio Conventions and the Global Environment Facility, in addition to a growing list of other global and local partners.  It was launched during the International Year of Biodiversity in 2010 at the margins of the CBD Conference of the Parties (CBD COP10) in Nagoya, Japan. It was subsequently held at the UNFCCC COP 16 in Cancun, Mexico. In 2011, at the UNCCD COP 10 in Changwon, Republic of Korea, and the UNFCCC COP 17 in Durban, South Africa. For more information contact:  David Ainsworth, information officer, Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity david.ainsworth@cbd.int or +1 514 561 2720.

Rio Conventions Join Forces for Sustainable Development and the Future We Want