Forest Landscape Restoration Forum wraps up with positive goals for regions and an ongoing community of practice

The third and final day of the FLR Forum featured sessions on monitoring and implementing FLR; capacity, learning and communication; recommendations for ROAM; and regional FLR implementation actions

By Maggie Roth, IUCN Global Gender Office

Mingling at the FLR Forum World Café in Washington, D.C., 23 September 2015

On September 24, participants of the Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) Forum gathered for the third and final day of the workshop. The Forum has brought together participants from governments and partner institutes, as well as technical staff, with the goal of establishing a global community of practice and encouraging regional and national calls to action related to FLR. The workshop was convened by IUCN’s Global Forest and Climate Change Programme (GFCCP), in collaboration with the World Resources Institute (WRI).

The morning began with an indicators discussion, as participants helped place restoration-relevant indicators into three categories—control, influence, or concern. Julien Colomer, IUCN’s GFCCP Monitoring and Learning Officer, gave a 30-minute presentation on different types of monitoring and what it means in the context of FLR.

Workshop attendees then broke into sessions on monitoring FLR progress and implementation, including: spatial designation and monitoring of restoration commitments in Central America; planning for, monitoring and learning from FLR knowledge-policy interface; exploring the interface between Ecosystem based Adaptation (EbA)and FLR from a monitoring perspective; and monitoring restoration without breaking the budget.

EbA is the use of ecosystem services for enhancing human resilience to climate change. FLR and EbA are often presented and thought of as separate and distinct concepts, however, excluding one from the other obscures the potential synergies that do exist. The EbA session examined the potential applicability of harmonized EbA monitoring approaches to FLR activities to measure the contribution of FLR towards adaptation. Participants discussed the importance of building on existing data sets and documenting case studies of “what, why and how to move forward” rather than just success stories.

Recommendations for the interface between EbA and FLR included:

  • Create a multi-disciplinary community to reflect on successes and learn adaptive management
  • Global FLR maps should overlap climate and disaster risks and opportunities
  • Case studies should demonstrate examples for FLR, EbA, and disaster risk reduction benefits, and other co-benefits should be compiled
  • Ascertain how components of other tools and approaches can make the Restoration Opportunities Assessment Methodology (ROAM) stronger and vice versa
  • Integrate EbA and risk reduction components into ROAM

Another break-out session looked at how the mapping of public, private and mixed restoration actions can be used to monitor progress on improving or maintaining priority natural capital. And how to monitor progress against previously made commitments, such as Initiative 20x20 and the Bonn Challenge. Yet another group explored what factors contribute to successful instances of FLR knowledge uptake, policy interface, and process influence between landscape, national, regional and global scales.

After a short break, the group divided again to partake in discussions on capacity, learning and communication related to FLR. Eva Garen and Gillian Bloomfield of the Environmental Leadership and Training Initiative (ELTI) at Yale University led participants through an examination of the different capacity building and learning options and helped identify the FLR and ROAM capacity building needs and interests of participating countries. Key takeaways from the presentation included ensuring monitoring and evaluation is done throughout a project, not just at the end; taking flexible, tailored approaches to restoration; and making training, mentorship and peer feedback a priority.

In one of the most critical sessions of the Forum, participants discussed ROAM and gave their recommendations for improvements. Suggestions included developing a practical definition of “landscapes” and criteria for identification of landscapes; offering guidance on monitoring and evaluation; establishing a communication strategy—especially across sectors and governmental ministries; the need for stronger social and environmental safeguards and standards, especially in relation to gender; and including mechanisms of coordination in ROAM documentation, among others. These ideas were then grouped into categories for recommendations—methods, tools and technology; regional, national and sub-national needs; the assessment process; policy uptake of ROAM; and implementing/carrying out ROAM.

To conclude the Forum, participants divided into geographic area and discussed regional actions that could be taken for implementing FLR:

  • Asia-Pacific will focus on capacity building at the regional level via training of trainers; organization of a series of workshops at the regional level on different aspects of FLR; mapping existing FLR work and developing a network of FLR practitioners in the region.
  • Francophone Africa has two priorities: to develop a regional network to facilitate sharing knowledge and experiences; and to encourage countries that have not yet pledged to the Bonn Challenge to do so.
  • Latin America believes it is crucial to increase coordination across ministries and sectors—thinking in terms of a Ministry of Restoration that combines restoration objectives, and also the development of appropriate financing mechanisms and strengthening existing networks to work on restoration.
  • Anglophone Africa agreed on two actions: Ghana promising to pledge to the Bonn Challenge at the national level; and at the regional level, to raise awareness on FLR.

Mirjam Kuzee, IUCN’s Forest Landscape Restoration Assessment Coordinator, closed the Forum by describing the three days as “a voyage of discovery.” And she reiterated the goal of the Forum in helping establish a solid foundation for a global FLR community of practice: the website——will remain a knowledge hub and platform for sharing experiences and information on FLR and ROAM into the future.

Work area: 
Climate Change
Climate Change
Forest Landscape Restoration
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