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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
UN Lays Foundation for More Drought-Resilient Societies: Meeting Urges Disaster Risk Reduction Instead of Crisis Management

Geneva, Switzerland, 15 March 2013 – A top-level United Nations conference has, for the first time, laid the foundations for practical and proactive national drought policies to increase resilience to the world’s most destructive natural hazard, which is being aggravated by climate change. The High-level Meeting on National Drought Policy marked the first globally-coordinated attempt to move towards science-based drought disaster risk reduction and break away from piecemeal and costly crisis-response, which often comes too late to avert death, displacement and destruction. The High-level Meeting on National Drought Policy marked the first globally-coordinated attempt to move towards science-based drought disaster risk reduction and break away from piecemeal and costly crisis-response, which often comes too late to avert death, displacement and destruction. The meeting issued a declaration encouraging governments to develop and implement national drought management policies consistent with their development objectives. It also provided detailed scientific and policy guidance on how to achieve this (link to declaration and science and policy documents) “Prevention must be our priority,” said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon in a message to delegates. “Nations need urgently to develop strategies for resilience — especially for the poor, who are always hit first and worst.” The meeting on 11-15 March was organized by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and other partners. It brought together more than 300 government decision-makers, development agencies, and leading scientists and researchers.  His Excellency Brigi Rafini , Prime Minister of Niger, which has suffered from repeated droughts, chaired the high-level segment, which was addressed by more than 20 ministers. The Prince of Orange, chairman of the Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, gave a keynote speech on the need for integrated water management. “We have taken a major stride towards more proactive drought policies to protect lives and livelihoods. This is the first global dialogue on national drought policies and it has shown that we have the knowledge, we have the experience, and we have the determination to reduce the unacceptably high human and economic toll of drought,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. “Building resilience to drought is not only a mitigation measure, but a smart investment with guaranteed high return. Post-disaster relief is way costlier than drought preparedness and risk management. Therefore, we call on governments and all stakeholders in drought-prone countries to engage in developing their national drought policies and we are ready to support them,” said UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja. “The nature of drought and its effects on key sectors such as water, agriculture, meteorology, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture, etc. call for close collaboration between these sectors and beyond in order for drought management to achieve its goals. Such collaboration has, unfortunately, been lacking. It is our hope that the collaboration between a large number of partners in the context of this High-level Meeting will constitute the starting point for lifting this constraint at all levels,” said Ann Tutwiler, Special Representative of FAO to the UN organizations in Geneva. It has been estimated that droughts are the world’s costliest natural disaster, accounting for 6-8 billion US dollars annually, and impacting more people than any other form of natural disaster. Since 1900, over 11 million people have died as a result of droughts, and 2 billion people have been affected. The frequency, intensity, and duration of droughts are expected to rise as a result of climate change, with an increasing human and economic toll. . Since the 1970s, the land area affected by drought has doubled, undermining livelihoods, reversing development gains and entrenching poverty among millions of people who depend directly on the land. Women, children and the aged often pay the heaviest price. Recurrent drought waves in vulnerable regions of Africa have attracted global attention because of the famines and massive social and economic disruptions. Drought in the Sahel reduced cereal production by 26 per cent in 2012 as compared to 2011. The situation remains critical, with over 10 million people still food insecure and 1.4 million children at risk of acute malnutrition. But drought affects other regions as well, as witnessed in recent years in the United States, Russia, Europe, India, Brazil and Australia, wreaking havoc on food supplies worldwide.. Presentations at the meeting showed that proactive drought management planning is now possible following major advances in science and technology, and knowledge about sustainable land management. Varied innovations also exist for national and regional drought monitoring, early warning systems, risk-based responses as well as mitigation and coping strategies. The meeting issued a consensus declaration stressing the need for national drought management policies. Specifically, it encouraged governments to: Develop proactive drought impact mitigation, preventive and planning measures, risk management, fostering of science, appropriate technology and innovation, public outreach and resource management as key elements of effective national drought policy. Promote greater collaboration to enhance the quality of local/national/regional/global observation networks and delivery systems. Improve public awareness of drought risk and preparedness for drought. Consider, where possible within the legal framework of each country, economic instruments, and financial strategies, including risk reduction, risk sharing and risk transfer tools in drought management plans. Establish emergency relief plans based on sound management of natural resources and self-help at appropriate governance levels. Link drought management plans to local/national development policies. Better drought management is one of the priorities of the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) now being implemented by governments with support from the United Nations. Climate services aim to increase drought resilience by improving climate information and services, especially for the most vulnerable. They will build on fast improving climate prediction capabilities. The GFCS aims to give global access to improved services for four initial priority sectors – food security and agriculture, water, health and disaster risk reduction – by the end of 2017. Outcomes of the high-level meeting will also be transmitted to the UNCCD Conference of Parties to be held in September 2013. Its last Conference in 2011 took a decision to formulate an advocacy policy framework on drought, taking gender-sensitive approaches into account. The High Final Declaration of the  Level Meeting on National Drought Policy (HMNDP) can be viewed here. The World Meteorological Organization is the United Nations System’s authoritative voice on Weather, Climate and Water Website: www.wmo.int For more information, please contact: Clare Nullis WMO Communications and Public Affairs E-mail: cnullis(@)wmo.int Tel: +41 22 730 8478 +41 79 7091397 (mobile) UNCCD is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment, development and the promotion of healthy soils. The Convention’s 195 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: Wagaki Mwangi UNCCD Public Information and Media Officer Tel: +49-228-815-2820 E-mail: wmwangi@unccd.int FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, leads international efforts to eradicate hunger and build sustainable and equitable food production systems. For more information, please contact: Kimberly Sullivan Communication and Publications Officer Natural Resources Department Office of Assistant Director-General FAO Tel: +39 0657055023 E-mail: kimberly.sullivan@fao.org

UN Lays Foundation for More Drought-Resilient Societies: Meeting Urges Disaster Risk Reduction Instead of Crisis Management