Press release | 14 Jun, 2016

IUCN and partners launch global effort to boost restoration of degraded forests

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council has approved The Restoration Initiative (TRI) that will help 10 countries define and achieve commitments under the Bonn Challenge – a global effort to restore 150 million hectares of degraded land by 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030.

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Aerial view of forest with savana patches, Congo basin region.

Photo: Paul Godard / Flickr Creative Commons

Led by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), TRI will be implemented in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

GEF programmatic support for this initiative is US$ 54 million. In addition, TRI anticipates co-financing contributions in excess of US$ 200 million from other donors. 

The TRI program will be implemented in Cameroon, Central African Republic, China, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sao Tome and Principe and Tanzania. Country projects will be linked by a Global Learning, Finance and Partnerships project, which will provide knowledge, tools and policy support to strengthen coherent delivery of the initiative. 

“The Restoration Initiative will generate action on forest landscape restoration (FLR),” says Stewart Maginnis, Global Director, Nature-Based Solutions, “helping to reverse the land and forest degradation that undermine efforts to eliminate poverty, hunger and biodiversity loss in many parts of the world today and the ability of communities to adapt to the impacts of climate change.”

TRI will work at multiple levels – identifying relevant national policy and institutional solutions and aligning them with FLR commitments, while supporting the implementation of restoration and land management projects on the ground that are gender sensitive and responsive to the needs of local communities.

Importantly, IUCN and its partners will ensure the sustainability of project outcomes by strengthening local and national institutions through access to a broad array of resources and promoting South-South learning and cooperation. A key component of TRI will be the development of models for investment.

“We will only be able to achieve the Bonn Challenge goals through collaboration at all levels and across sectors. That is the strength of TRI – its potential to bring together different players in FLR and create a space for collaboration and shared learning,” stressed Maginnis.

Strengthened restoration and improved land management practices facilitated by TRI will contribute to achieving national and sub-national priorities such as food security and jobs, as well as international goals related to climate change, biodiversity and land degradation neutrality.

The Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration (GPFLR) has identified 2 billion hectares around the world – an area larger than South America – where opportunities for restoration may be found. Although restoration initiatives are underway in different regions, a concerted focus is needed to bolster these efforts. TRI will bring together expertise from several multilateral organisations with a range of technical partners and support from multiple financing partners to put FLR into practice at scale in 10 countries with significant restoration potential.

TRI will be the focus of a special high-level event at the IUCN World Conservation Congress this September in Hawai`i. As part of a wider narrative on Bonn Challenge commitments and implementation strategies, the session will feature speakers from TRI partners and in-country project leaders.

Click here for more on IUCN’s work to restore lost forests and empower communities.