UICN: Bonn Challenge approaches target to restore 150 million hectares of degraded land
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, 3 September 2016 (IUCN) – The Government of Malawi and the Association of Guatemalan Private Natural Reserves have committed to restoring a total of 4.54 million hectares of degraded land as part of the Bonn Challenge initiative, as announced today at the IUCN World Conservation Congress currently taking place in Hawai’i.
Today’s announcements bring the total of Bonn Challenge pledges to just over 113 million hectares committed by 36 governments, organisations and companies – exceeding the 100 million hectare milestone just five years after its launch and bringing the 150 million target within reach.
“This exciting news is evidence that forest landscape restoration is increasingly looked to as an avenue to achieving the ambitions of the 2015 agreements,” said Inger Andersen, Director General, IUCN. “We’ve watched the Bonn Challenge initiative transform from a global ambition to a powerful movement driven by governments, business leaders and local communities.
“Over the next four years, we will be working with our partners to embed forest landscape restoration into national priorities, achieve restoration at scale and deliver real results to the communities and individuals living in these landscapes.”
The Bonn Challenge is a global effort to restore 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested land by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030. The initiative was launched in 2011 by Germany and IUCN, and was later endorsed and extended by the UN Climate Summit in 2014.
Achieving the 350 million hectare goal could generate US$ 170 billion per year in net benefits from watershed protection, improved crop yields and forest products, and could sequester up to 1.7 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent annually.
“The IUCN Congress has driven home the urgency of acting on environmental issues and the potential of using nature as a tool to achieve sustainable development,” said Dr. Clement Chilima, Director of Forestry, Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Malawi. “Restoring 4.5 million hectares of degraded land will set Malawi on the path to a climate-smart future.”
“The RPNG was instrumental in getting over 170 reserves declared in Guatemala – that is the power of working together,” said Martin Keller, President of the Association of Guatemalan Private Natural Reserves (RPNG), the first private reserve group to make a pledge to the Bonn Challenge. “We’re delighted to join the Bonn Challenge and to share our lessons in natural resource management and learn from other participating countries and organisations.”
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