Globallandscapesforum: Despite obstacles, GLF delegates see progress on AFR100 forest targets



NAIROBI (Landscape News) — The rehabilitation of degraded forests and wooded, productive landscapes is a key component of a global strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve livelihoods.



The African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100) was established to feed into a larger “Bonn Challenge” target to restore 350 million hectares of forests worldwide by 2030.



AFR100 sets the stage to restore 100 million hectares of forests throughout Africa within the same timeframe. While country-level commitments are growing, various challenges to achieving goals exist, said delegates attending the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) conference in Nairobi last week.



Restoration work can support the agriculture and food system by providing jobs and other economic benefits for rural communities, said Stefan Schmitz, deputy director-general and commissioner of Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) One World – No Hunger Initiative.



“The more we succeed in providing employment and income for local communities, the more it’s likely that we’ll be able to succeed in our restoration efforts,” he said. “It will require a mix of national, international, private and public funding.”



Under, the AFR100 initiative — a central part of the BMZ forest action plan — 26 countries have committed to restore 91 million hectares of forests, Schmitz said.



“Good governance is a prerequisite for sustainable rural development,” Schmitz said, adding that challenges posed by competing sectors must be met to ensure targets can be met.



“There is, on the one hand, the sphere of landscapes, of natural resources, of restoration,” he said. “On the other, there is the agriculture and food system, and the challenge is to really bring those two universes together.”



BMZ launched AFR100 in collaboration with the New Economic Partnership for Africa’s Development, the World Bank and World Resources Institute at the 2015 GLF conference in Paris.



“We have the targets in place, and the commitment to these targets, and now we have to start the real implementation on the ground,” Schmitz said. “AFR100 is for me, sustainable development in practice.”



The African Union’s Elvis Tangem, coordinator of the Great Green Wall initiative to reforest a wide belt around the Sahel to slow desertification, said successful restoration will be achieved through coordination, synergy and collaborative work.



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