Convention on Biological Diversity Workshop: Towards ecosystem restoration in Southeast Asia

03 June 2014 | Article

 To meet Aichi Biodiversity Targets, a five day capacity-building workshop for ecosystem conservation and restoration in Southeast Asia was held by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Secretariat in Jambi, Indonesia. This workshop brought together CBD State Members, conservation practitioners in forestry; including governments, civil society, and industry representatives to discuss how to achieve Aichi Targets emphasizing ecosystem restoration.

Held between 28 April and 2 May 2014, the capacity-building CBD workshop was organized with support from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN Office for REDD+ Collaboration in Indonesia (UNORCID), and the respective Governments of Korea and Japan. The focus was on Aichi Targets number 5, 11, 14 and 15 (see the note below for details). This was the second regional meeting, following that which was successfully conducted in Brazil in April 2014.

The CBD workshop in Jambi included presentations, panel discussions, working group exercises, and a field trip to the Harapan Rainforest. Using an innovative approach, it enabled practical, interactive exchanges between the participants at regional-level. The represented countries delivered updates on related national policies, the drafting and revisions of NBSAPs (National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans), and the developments in restoration and protected area networks to determine reasons for ecosystem loss and degradation. Strong case studies on ecosystem restoration were shared; particularly lessons learned from Korea’s successful forest restoration programme and Brazil’s achievements in curbing deforestation. This enabled invaluable knowledge sharing on restoration of forests; a significant concern in Southeast Asia.

During the CBD workshop, IUCN Southeast Asia Deputy Mr Petch Manopawitr, presented the IUCN’s private sector engagement with Marriott, as part of a panel discussion on resource mobilization strategies for biodiversity conservation and restoration. Other panel discussants included representatives from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the World Resources Institute (WRI), BirdLife International and the Indonesian Biodiversity Foundation (KEHATI).

While each country is moving at a different pace to achieve Aichi Targets, understanding common goals are imperative for shared progress in Southeast Asia. The group exercises at the CBD workshop provided important insights on country-specific cases and issues, new financial mechanisms, and the practical application of assessment tools. In particular, the IUCN-WRI jointly developed Rapid Restoration Diagnostic Tool and the Restoration Opportunities Assessment Methodology (ROAM) were introduced and tested during a working group session.

The field visit to the Harapan Rainforest in Jambi enabled participants to apply concepts they encountered during the workshop. This rainforest is the first ecosystem restoration of its kind in Indonesia; managed by BirdLife International and its Indonesian partner Burung, with technical support from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). The key driver for effective forest restoration here is sustainable financial management. For this, a business plan is in development, with active public and private sector involvement. In designated ‘forest production’ areas, high-value timber tree species are being planted; in addition to conventional forest produce and non-timber forest products. Underlying these activities are the principles of smart land use and sustainable agro-forestry.

In terms of the road ahead, better information exchange on biodiversity and awareness on regional and national levels was given importance; especially the need for relevant trainings for government and regional civil society staff in using tools for biodiversity assessments. Bridging the gap between timber-based industries was also put forth; in that effective restoration is possible with good management practices being adopted by concerned industries and concerted private sector involvement. Innovative financial mechanisms for the sustainable management of ecosystems were discussed and encouraged. Such opportunities for sharing lessons and experiences on a sub-regional basis would of much value in the future.

Mr Petch Manopawitr, IUCN Southeast Asia Deputy, said “The CBD workshop facilitated a more holistic understanding of ecosystem restoration and conservation for improved protected area management in Southeast Asia. While this vitally enabled South-South learning, it highlighted the need for improved dissemination of information and research tools to policy-makers and civil society members to fully meet Aichi Targets.”

By Ria Sen

Note:

Aichi Target 5: By 2020, the rate of loss of all natural habitats, including forests, is at least halved and where feasible brought close to zero, and degradation and fragmentation is significantly reduced.

Aichi Target 11: By 2020, at least 17% of terrestrial and inland water, and 10% of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, and integrated into the wider landscapes and seascapes.

Aichi Target 14: By 2020, ecosystems that provide essential services, including services related to water, and contribute to health, livelihoods and well-being, are restored and safeguarded, taking into account the needs of women, indigenous and local communities, and the poor and vulnerable.

Aichi Target 15: By 2020, ecosystem resilience and the contribution of biodiversity to carbon stocks has been enhanced, through conservation and restoration, including restoration of at least 15% of degraded ecosystems, thereby contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation and to combating desertification.