Ecosystem restoration - Global partnerships for expanding high level commitments to results

Ecosystem restoration – Global partnerships for expanding high level commitments to results

Ecosystem restoration - Global partnerships for expanding high level commitments to results

Ecosystem restoration – Global partnerships for expanding high level commitments to results

High-level public commitments raise both the domestic and international profiles of forest conservation and landscape restoration. They also increase the engagement of top political and business leaders, which helps to facilitate government- wide or enterprise-wide resolution of sectoral or departmental concerns that sometimes inhibit implementation. As noted in the introduction, such commitments are expanding rapidly.

The forest sector has led in this type of high-level coalition-building. The Bonn Challenge of 2011 invited governments, businesses and others to register pledges to restore deforested and degraded lands, with a goal of 150 million ha by 2020. As of late March 2015, 11 countries had committed to place roughly 60 million ha into restoration by 2020.49 The New York Declaration on Forests, launched in 2014 at the UN Climate Summit, included an explicit pledge to work together to cut natural forest loss in half by the end of the decade and end it entirely by 2030, the first time a large number of nations have agreed to a global target date for ending deforestation. The Declaration commits to end deforestation from the production of agricultural commodities such as palm oil, soy, paper and beef no later than 2020.

The New York Declaration also expanded on the Bonn Challenge, with a new goal of putting 350 million ha into restoration by 2030.50 That matches Aichi Target 15, which calls for restoring 15% of degraded ecosystems by 2030, and a 2011 estimate that there were 2.3 billion ha of degraded forest landscape globally.51 Better Growth, Better Climate estimated that this level of restoration could bring net economic benefits of about US$170 billion per year, including forest products, higher crop yields due to improved ecosystem services, and recreation.52 Along with the 130 initial signatories, others were invited to join, and as of August 2015, the total stood at 179, including governments, businesses, civil society organisations and indigenous peoples’ groups. These signatories pledged not only to work towards achieving the outcomes on the ground, but also to ensure that large-scale economic incentives are in place commensurate with the size of the challenge.53

In 2012, leading consumer goods companies partnered with a number of governments and environmental organisations to create the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 (TFA), a shared platform to eliminate deforestation from global commodity markets.

The TFA’s membership includes companies with significant shares of global markets in agricultural and forestry commodities, such as Unilever, Nestlé, Danone and McDonald’s. These platforms are helping to spread standards across entire markets, for example in palm oil where more than 60% of global trade is now covered by publicly stated responsible sourcing guidelines.54

The Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration, meanwhile, is providing a knowledge platform for organisations and individuals interested in forest restoration, to build consensus and commitment.55 And other initiatives are emerging, such as the climate-smart agriculture (CSA) and forests programmes under way in the business-led Low-Carbon Technology Partnership initiatives under the World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD), which seek to remove the barriers to broader deployment and development of climate technologies.56

Work began on building a Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture (GACSA) in 2011, about the same time as the launch of the Bonn Challenge.57 There was a desire to invest more in agricultural productivity and resilience to climate shocks in developing countries after the 2008 and 2010 global food crises.58 GACSA was launched at the UN Climate Summit, in parallel with the New York Declaration on Forests.59 It aims to advance cooperation on a wider policy framework for implementing climate-smart agriculture, by bringing together investors and public funders, facilitating knowledge transfers among countries, and fostering international dialogue on how to improve the enabling environment for cooperation on CSA.

Amid all these efforts, there is renewed emphasis in international policy discussions on how the public and private sectors should cooperate to more adequately deal with the need for climate adaptation in agriculture and forest protection.60 The revamped Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research and the new Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases are helping to advance and accelerate crucial research.61 International policy discussions on agricultural water and healthy ecosystems in the context of looming water scarcity are also increasing the scope for critical international collaboration in an area vital to agricultural resilience to climate change.

Source :The New climate economy

Authors : Christopher Delgado, Michael Wolosin, and Nigel Purvis

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