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BONN, Germany (Landscape News) — At a major Bonn Challenge event in Brazil in March, El Salvador’s ministry of environment and natural resources, urged the international community to support a decade of landscape restoration.
Now, international momentum is building in support of the initiative, a document originating from Brazil’s environment ministry seen by Landscape News indicates. The goal of countries supporting a U.N. Decade of Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030 is to put landscape restoration at the forefront of national agendas, underpinning country level efforts to meet U.N. Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15, Life on Land.
A decade focused on restoration would address — in a cost effective way — the severe degradation of ecosystems and agro-ecosystems that countries face, their vulnerability to environmental threats posed by climate change, and the consequences for social and economic development, Lina Pohl, El Salvador’s Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, told Landscape News.
If the proposed U.N. decade from 2021 to 2030 is implemented, it will likely lead to an increase in much needed funds to develop projects that could restore ecosystems, reverse land degradation and biodiversity loss.
“In El Salvador, ecosystems degradation has caused alterations in ecosystem structure and functions, leading to the loss of biodiversity and a decrease in the supply of ecosystem services which impacts on productivity and the quality of life in the territories, increasing vulnerability to the climate threat,” Pohl said.
“Faced with the rapid increase in disasters related to climate change, the country needs to promote an aggressive restoration program that builds resilience, reduces vulnerability and increases the ability of systems to adapt to daily threats and extreme events,” she added.
El Salvador is a regional leader in Initiative 20×20, a restoration framework in South America feeding into targets set through the Bonn Challenge, a global commitment to restore 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded land by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030 made during U.N. Climate talks in 2014.
Over the past 20 years since establishing its Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources, Central America’s smallest country has made a concentrated effort to protect its unique biodiversity. In 2012, the ministry established an innovative Program for Ecosystem and Rural Landscape Restoration.
The event hosted by Brazil, and jointly organized by Germany’s Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, led to discussions on forest landscape restoration experiences, innovations and financing initiatives.
The proposal to dedicate 10 years to promoting the restoration of more than 2 billion hectares of degraded land worldwide – a footprint larger than South America – will be central to discussions at a Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) summit in Nairobi in August.
Pohl shared her views with Landscape News:
Q: What would be the benefit of such a decade?
The declaration of the international decade of restoration of ecosystems will allow, among others, the following benefits:
Q: What was your inspiration?
Three processes made me think of the declaration initiative and its benefits:
Q: What makes it relevant to both El Salvador and the international community?
A: It is understood that restoration, together with the consolidated actions made on ecosystems protection and conservation — the result of several decades of applying this approach — allows the reduction of vulnerability to climate change, and particularly loss and damage from extreme weather events.
Ecosystems restoration complies with cost-benefit conditions and adopts an integral approach to landscape restoration, restoring and preserving forested areas, promoting the establishment of biological corridors and the rehabilitation and transformation of agricultural areas through the adoption of sustainable practices — including the promotion of resilient agroforestry systems — allows the creation of a much more favorable environment to conserve biodiversity, recover the functionality and productivity of the soil, and contributes to mitigate climate change by increasing carbon stocks, as well as building resilience and adaptation to the effects of climate change.
Also, by integrating agendas on climate change (adaptation and mitigation), biodiversity, water resources and risk reduction, it allows the achievement of goals and commitments acquired under the environmental conventions regarding the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions related to deforestation and degradation of forests and agricultural practices, which have been established in Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) under the UNFCCC; to achieve Aichi Target 7 on Sustainable Agriculture and Aichi Target 14 and 15 on the Restoration of Ecosystems established under the Strategic Plan 2010-2020 of the CBD; and achieve the National Voluntary Goals to Achieve LDN, established under the UNCCD.
To read more stories on Landscape News about the proposed U.N. Decade of Ecosystem Restoration, please click here.
Spanish language video interview:
Find out more about restoration initiatives throughout Africa at the Global Landscapes Forum GLF Nairobi summit, August 29-30, 2018. Click here
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