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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
Africa’s Great Green Wall Reaches out to New Partner

More partnerships and investment are needed to support the pan-African partnership to tackle desertification and land degradation Rome, Italy, 16 December 2013 – The Great Green Wall initiative is hosting an international forum to build new partnerships and accelerate progress in tackling one of this century’s defining development challenges – land degradation, desertification and drought. The forum will also take stock of the achievements and future challenges of the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative. The two-day event, organized by the Global Mechanism of the UNCCD (GM) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) under the auspices of the African Union Commission (AUC), is taking place on 16-17 December at FAO Headquarters in Rome. Since its adoption in 2007 by African Heads of State and Government, the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative has become Africa’s flagship initiative in tackling the detrimental social, economic and environmental impact of land degradation, desertification, drought and climate change. It is estimated that 83 per cent of rural people in Sub-Saharan Africa depend on the land for their livelihoods, but 40 per cent of Africa’s land resources are currently degraded. Poverty, hunger, unemployment, forced migration, conflict and security issues are just some of the many threats arising from this situation. In the Sahel, seasonal temperatures have risen between 1.5-2.0 degrees Celsius, making land and the local populations all the more vulnerable to weather events that have become more and more unpredictable and severe. Bold coordinated action and more investments in sustainable land management are needed to boost food production, help people adapt to climate change and mitigate its effects, support biodiversity, enhance businesses based on land resources and contribute to a green economy. Action on the ground A mosaic of natural resource management programmes underway in some of the countries, demonstrate the potential of sustainable land management to boost food security, improve community livelihoods and build the resilience of the land and the people to the changing climate. In southern Niger, for instance, farmers have rehabilitated over 5 million hectares of land, using a low cost land restoration technique called farmer-managed natural regeneration. This has boosted crop and livestock yields, as well the production of medicine and firewood. In Senegal, 27 000 hectares of degraded land were restored by the planting of 11 million trees. Part of this re-greened area is being converted into a community-based reserve for eco-tourism. A mechanized technology, known as the Vallerani-system inspired from traditional practices has helped to restore more than 50 000 hectares of agro-forestry systems in Burkina Faso, Niger and Senegal. It is seeding native trees, shrubs and herbs, boosting the production of crops, gums and resins, and providing fodder for livestock. Breaking the cycle “The time has come to break the vicious cycle of crises in Africa's Sahel by building up the ability of rural communities to weather drought and other shocks, rather than merely helping them recover from disaster,” said Maria-Helena Semedo, FAO’s Deputy Director-General, at the opening of the event. "The Great Green Wall initiative is an opportunity to bring a coordinated and harmonized response to the issues of forced migration, food security and peace in Africa", Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), said to the representatives of African countries, international organizations, development banks, civil society and the private sector. With less than three per cent of Sub-Saharan Africa’s total cropland currently benefiting from sustainable land and water management, she warned that a major effort would be required to build the resilience of people in the region and the natural systems on which they so intimately depend. EU Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, added: “I am pleased to support the Green Wall initiative – it is very much in line with the EU’s own commitment to doing all we can to help people in those countries most affected by climate change to be able to better adapt to its impact in the future, as well as improving food security and making agriculture more sustainable.” Expanding partnership “Partnerships are crucial to support governments in mobilizing the necessary technical and financial resources for the implementation of their Great Green Wall plans,” said Dr. Abebe Haile Gabriel, Director for Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union Commission. New partnerships are needed to strengthen the global alliance that has emerged under the leadership of the African Union, he added, stressing the need for streamlined coordination among partners and the importance of close monitoring and evaluation of the impact of their actions. So far, the African Union – in cooperation with the European Union, FAO, the Global Mechanism of the UNCCD, the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew and the Walloon Region of Belgium – has mobilized more than €50 million in support of the Great Green Wall Initiative. The World Bank and Global Environment Facility are financing the US$1 billion Sahel and West Africa Program (SAWAP), active in 12 countries together with a regional hub project called Building Resilience through Innovation, Communication, and Knowledge Services (BRICKS), implemented by the Permanent Interstates Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS), the Sahara and Sahel Observatory  (OSS) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Great Green Wall initiative Endorsed in 2007 by African Heads of State and Government, the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative aims to reverse land degradation and desertification in the Sahel and Sahara, whilst mitigating social, economic and environmental crises for the region’s most vulnerable people. The initiative brings together more than 20 African countries across North Africa, the Sahel and the Horn, international organizations, research institutes, civil society and grassroots organizations, supporting local communities in the sustainable management and use of forests, rangelands and other natural resources in dryland areas.  It also seeks to contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation, as well improve the food security and community livelihoods in the Sahel and the Sahara. Contact Global Mechanism of the UNCCD Maurizio Navarra Communications Officer m.navarra@global‐mechanism.org

Africa’s Great Green Wall Reaches out to New Partner