BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 03 August '16

Bonn Challenge to restore land pushes beyond 100 million hectares

Ministers from Guinea, the Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana have voiced their commitments to restore 11.5 million hectares of degraded forests at a high-level roundtable in Kigali, Rwanda.

The ‘Africa High-Level Bonn Challenge Roundtable’ was convened by the Government of Rwanda, the East African Community (EAC) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to build regional cooperation on the Bonn Challenge – a global effort to restore 150 million hectares of deforested and degraded lands by 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030.

Pledged land

The pledges comprise 2 million hectares from the Republic of Guinea, 3.5 million hectares from the Central African Republic, 5 million hectares from Côte d’Ivoire and an additional 1 million hectares from Ghana (who had already committed 1 million hectares).

The Republic of Congo also reaffirmed its commitment to restore 2 million hectares. These new pledges bring the total amount of land committed by countries, companies and organisations for restoration under the Bonn Challenge to over 107 million hectares.

‘We recognise the importance of the engagement of the international community for the implementation of the Bonn Challenge in our country. Forest landscape restoration will help us achieve our international commitments, particularly to the UNFCCC, the UNCCD and the CBD.’

CHRISTINE SAGNO
Minister of Environment, Water Resources and Forestry, Guinea

Along with the Republic of Congo, other national governments in Africa had earlier pledged their support for the Bonn Challenge, totalling 55.3 million hectares for the region.

This includes Burundi (2 million hectares), Democratic Republic of Congo (8 million hectares), Ethiopia (15 million hectares), Kenya (5.1 million hectares), Niger (3.2 million hectares), Rwanda (2 million hectares), Uganda (2.5 million hectares), Liberia (1 million hectares), Madagascar (1 million hectares) and Mozambique  (1 million hectares).

‘The beauty of the forest landscape restoration approach lies in the immense benefits that flow from these revitalised lands. We are focused on a transition to sustainable land use through climate-smart agriculture, agroforestry and silvopasture. IUCN will continue to support countries throughout Africa in this process.’

INGER ANDERSEN
IUCN Director General

As well as contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals, efforts to restore forests contribute to the Paris Climate Change Agreement, the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the Zero Net Land Degradation goal.

Supporting the Bonn Challenge

Driven by political will and regional institutions, a host of high-level processes are emerging to support the Bonn Challenge and FLR.

Ministers from Latin America met in El Salvador in August 2015 and are meeting in Panama in August 2016, and an Asia Pacific meeting is slated for February 2017 in South Sumatra, Indonesia.

Importantly, multi-country initiatives such as The Restoration Initiative (TRI), supported by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and led by IUCN in partnership with UNEP and FAO, are catalysing implementation and creating avenues for collaboration.

‘Côte d’Ivoire recognises that through forest landscape restoration it is possible to reduce the negative effects of climate change in the country while creating opportunities to improve livelihoods from rural communities.’

Zana Inzan Ouattara
Assistant Specialist on REDD+, Côte d’Ivoire

More Bonn Challenge pledges are expected to be announced at the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2016 taking place in Hawaiʻi from 1 to 10 September.

Click here to view IUCN profiles of countries with existing domestic restoration targets.