Communities and forest landscape restoration at IUCN Congress: Ensuring equitable outcomes

Communities are at the heart of the forest landscape restoration (FLR) approach, from planning through to implementation. At the IUCN World Conservation Congress, FLR practitioners from around the world will take participants through the processes they followed to design integrated FLR projects.

Man with back facing camera looking at field

The Restoring forests and building communities theme of the Forest Journey runs for three days, September 2, 3 and 4. Here’s a snapshot of the events taking place:

September 2

The day begins with a session by U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell on the country’s progress towards its Bonn Challenge pledge. The U.S. committed to restoring 15 million hectares by 2020 and Tidwell will reflect on lessons learned and explain the tools used in projects. This session also kicks off the Bonn Challenge Journey.

In the evening, a book launch and happy hour is planned at the Forest Pavilion. IUCN will be releasing ‘Forest Landscape Restoration in Brazil', a compendium of perspectives from diverse players – banks, civil society organisations, universities – in Brazil’s FLR movement.

September 3

Prepare for an action-packed Saturday! In the morning, two high-level panel discussions are scheduled with Bonn Challenge pledgers, governments and companies. Panelists will share experiences from their countries and lead discussions on challenges faced and opportunities created. This is followed by a session focussed on FLR in West Africa and the role it plays in securing water, food and livelihoods for vulnerable local communities. The success of FLR is underpinned by stable land tenure policies and this session will bring together the different actors involved in building this foundation. The focus then moves to the China and U.S. with a presentation and discussion on the institutional and policy processes that have facilitated large-scale restoration in the two countries.

Partnerships between organisations, the government and civil society are critical to the success of FLR, and an afternoon session in the Forest Pavilion explores this dynamic in Mexico. At a parallel event in the Water Pavilion, experts will discuss how Guatemala City can adjust it water extraction practices to preserve the Xayá and Pixcayá rivers. If you’re at the Mexico session, stick around for a discussion on the Forest Conservation Fund in Guatemala. Practitioners will be looking at 10 years of work conducted under its aegis and reflecting upon how learnings can be applied to projects elsewhere in the world.

Close the afternoon with representatives from the U.S. Forest Service, Parks Canada and the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO); as they discuss case studies on governance and FLR.   

Stay at the Forest Pavilion into the evening for two exciting flagship events! IUCN, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) launch a new Global Environment Facility (GEF)-supported FLR programme called The Restoration Initiative (TRI). Spanning 10 countries, TRI will play a crucial role in supporting and facilitating the implementation of the Bonn Challenge.

The day ends with a networking cocktail to mark the Bonn Challenge reaching the 100 hectares milestone. Join high-level public and private sector leaders in this celebration of success, leadership and future achievements on the horizon.

September 4

Start your Sunday with an interactive session highlighting the importance of stakeholder engagement and multidisciplinary focus in FLR activities. The workshop will begin with a keynote address and high-level discussion panel, after which participants will break into thematic roundtables led by experts in finance, biodiversity, gender, smallholders and other topics.

The theme ends with a final knowledge café exploring the interconnectedness between the Bonn Challenge and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, with a key focus on Central and West Africa.  

The Restoring Forests and Building Communities theme is part of the Forest Journey, a series of curated events for forest practitioners at Congress. Get all the details here.

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