Story | 03 Dec, 2016

Brazil to restore 12 million hectares of forests under Bonn Challenge for biodiversity and climate benefits

Today, the government of Brazil committed to restoring 12 million hectares of deforested land under the Bonn Challenge, joining 38 other countries, associations and companies in the global restoration effort. The announcement was made by Brazil’s Minister of the Environment José Sarney Filho at the Thirteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 13) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Cancun, Mexico, where the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is highlighting the role of forest landscape restoration (FLR) in achieving international biodiversity targets.

Brazil’s announcement brings the total pledged under the Bonn Challenge to over 136 million hectares, edging closer to achieving the Bonn Challenge goals of bringing 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded land into restoration by 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030.

“The Government of Brazil has the pleasure to announce its voluntary contribution to the Bonn Challenge and the 20x20 Initiative. We will reforest, restore forests and promote the regeneration of 12 million hectares of forested areas by 2030. This is a challenge that we face with determination and effort, and we are certain that our efforts will bring effective results in order for us to achieve our international goals,” says Minister Sarney Filho.

The Brazilian government also plans to implement integrated crop, livestock and forestry initiatives on an additional 5 million hectares under the country’s low-carbon initiatives and restore 5 million hectares of pastureland. Along with the 12 million hectares under the Bonn Challenge, these pledges will be counted as part of the 20x20 Initiative, a regional platform to drive action on the Bonn Challenge led by the World Resources Institute (WRI). Combined, Brazil’s overall commitment to restoration totals 22 million hectares. 

Brazil’s pledge was brought about through collaboration between the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture, with concerted effort to build agreement on their restoration goals. This joint effort firmly establishes forest landscape restoration as a strategy being implemented across diverse landscapes and across sectors – and highlights Brazil’s global leadership on restoration.

“Brazil’s pledge to contribute 12 million hectares to the Bonn Challenge is a monumental step towards achieving this crucial goal. This restoration of degraded forest and agricultural lands is a perfect example of inter-sectoral collaboration that will surely inspire others,” says Inger Andersen, Director General, IUCN.

Restoring forest landscapes at this scale will benefit local communities who depend directly on these ecosystems for food and income while advancing global efforts to mitigate climate change and conserve biodiversity. Studies by the Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration (GPFLR) have identified net benefits from watershed protection, improved crop yields and forest products valued at US$ 170 billion per year if the 350 million hectare goal is reached.

At COP13, IUCN also drew attention to the contribution of FLR to achieving several Aichi Biodiversity Targets. Inger Andersen stresses the crucial role of the Bonn Challenge as an implementation vehicle for existing international commitments, saying: “With more countries building synergies between global restoration commitments and initiatives, we can capture these win-win opportunities: wins for biodiversity, wins for carbon, wins for people, wins for the economy, wins for women, and wins for our planet.”

For more on restoration efforts in Brazil, visit – IUCN’s information site on the global FLR movement. 

For more information or to set up interviews, please contact:

Sandra Caya, Manager, Knowledge & Communications, IUCN Global Forest & Climate Change Programme, Mobile: +41 79 832 75 93,

Goska Bonnaveira, IUCN Communications Officer,  Mobile: +41 79 276 0185,