Day 2 of the FLR Forum examined restoration-related themes, in particular stakeholder engagement and governance, engaging in discussions on methodology, lessons learned and FLR opportunities.
By Maggie Roth, IUCN Global Gender Office
On September 23, participants gathered for the second day of the FLR Forum in Washington, D.C. to further explore themes related to Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR). The Forum, organized by IUCN and the World Resources Institute (WRI), invited participants from governments and partner institutes, in addition to WRI and IUCN regional and national staff, with roles in FLR assessments, policy uptake, and implementation of FLR, to convene for the three-day event and establish a community of practice for collaboration, interaction, and shared resources on FLR.
FLR is a long-term process of regaining ecological integrity and enhancing human wellbeing in degraded and deforested lands. Principles of an FLR approach include restoring a balanced package of forest functions; active engagement, collaboration and negotiation among stakeholders; working across an entire landscape; and learning and adapting over time.
IUCN and WRI have jointly published a Restoration Opportunities Assessment Methodology (ROAM), providing a framework and tools for countries to rapidly identify and analyze FLR at both the sub-national and national level. In order to further examine and discuss FLR principles generally—and ROAM specifically—breakout sessions convened to take a closer look at these themes, including:
- Synergies between FLR, ecosystem-based adaptation and disaster risk reduction
- Pathways to financing FLR
- Stakeholder engagement and governance
- Mapping and spatial analysis
- Economics and ecosystem services
- Food security
- FLR policy uptake and download
The core principle of FLR sees people coming together to restore the functionality and productivity of degraded lands. A critical consideration in designing FLR interventions is equity in decision-making and in the benefits of restoration. In the stakeholder engagement and governance session, this equity was discussed in the context of natural resource governance and participation.
Gretchen Walters, Programme Officer for IUCN’s Global Forest and Climate Change Programme, discussed the different levels of participation and the importance of accurately identifying stakeholder groups, stressing the difference between “rights-holders” and “stakeholders.” Participants learned that effectively engaging with stakeholders requires defined engagement goals from the outset of the project, clear benefits and their fair distribution, an inclusive approach that does not exclude dissenting voices, and undertaking dialogue with stakeholders as equals and valuing their knowledge.
Lorena Aguilar, IUCN’s Senior Global Gender Advisor, next asked participants what happens when gender is not considered in environmental policy, programming and project implementation. The answer? When restoration efforts do not incorporate women’s perspectives, knowledge, innovation, and livelihood impacts are lost. For FLR efforts and ROAM, a gender analysis should be conducted before the project begins or as the first step, before any other work occurs. It is also important to examine the use, access and control of the landscapes before attempting restoration. This concept goes beyond a gender-sensitive “do no harm” approach, moving towards a “do better,” gender-responsive methodology. Aguilar concluded by saying, “When you embrace principles of rights, empowerment, participation, and good governance, you can make a real difference in restoration activities.”
After the thematic sessions, workshop participants mingled and discussed their restoration experiences, projects and potential opportunities at the FLR Global Café. A viewing of the 20-minute documentary film, “Ethiopia Rising: From red terror to green revolution”, closed the day.
Tomorrow’s events will conclude the FLR Forum, with attendees further elaborating common themes for FLR; more capacity, learning and communication opportunities; and continued exploration of recommendations for ROAM.
It is hoped that the Forum will lead to not only the establishment of a global community of practice, but also regional and national calls to action related to FLR.
Stay tuned for more updates, and follow @IUCN_Forests for live Tweets of the workshop.