“A world where – for the health and wellbeing of all life on earth and that of future generations – we have restored the relationship between humans and nature, by increasing the area of healthy ecosystems, and by putting a stop to their loss and degradation.” – Vision and theory of change for the U.N. Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021–2030)
On 1 March 2019, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution for 2021 to 2030 to be the U.N. Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, focusing ten years on massively increasing efforts to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems worldwide. (For the full background on the Decade, read here.)
But how will this happen? With the 2020s being deemed as the imperative “Climate Decade,” how will restoration-focused Decade turn from a pipedream into an actual planet-transforming success?
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), which are the organizational leads of this Decade, have, along with partners, developed a draft strategy for the Decade’s implementation built upon a series of consultations with governments, practitioners, civil society, youth, and private sector. The strategy, centered on three pathways to be carried out in tandem, is currently being circulated publicly for people to offer commentary and feedback until 30 April 2020. Should you wish to take part in the consultation, or should you just be curious about what such a strategy entails, here is a short digest of what it says.
Pathway I: Building a global movement
The Decade will develop a global movement of individuals and organizations through the following means.
Pathway II: Generating political support
Pathway III: Building technical capacity
Along with implementing on-the-ground ecosystem restoration initiatives and establishing a small team focused solely on the Decade, the two lead agencies UNEP and FAO are mandated to:
The Decade will be further designed, overseen and carried out by a Strategy Group, Advisory Boards for technical guidance and Working groups on specific themes.
Funding will be overseen by a special task force, and a Multi-Partner Trust Fund will be established within the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to provide funding to the Decade’s core team. All Member States and other interested partners are invited to contribute to the Trust Fund. The Fund can accept contributions from non-state actors as well, in line with United Nations Rules, but it will not accept contributions from the fossil fuel industry. The Decade will work closely with existing public funds such as the Land Degradation Neutrality Fund and coalitions such as Climate Action 100+.
Monitoring progress utilize existing reporting systems (e.g. the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the United Nations Strategic Plan for Forests 2017–2030) as well as the new post-2020 biodiversity framework, collating data from these systems that relate back to ecosystem restoration. A joint evaluation of the Decade’s progress will be undertaken in 2025 and 2028 by the UNEP and FAO Evaluation Offices.
If you are a young person, learn how to take restoration action now by joining the Youth in Landscapes Initiative. To provide feedback on the draft strategy, please visit the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration website until 30 April 2020.
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