Bonn, Germany – A global effort to restore 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested lands by 2020 is being launched in Bonn, Germany.
The announcement comes during the Bonn Challenge Ministerial Roundtable, where a select group of government officials, business leaders, and international forest experts are gathering to catalyze support for global forest and landscape restoration.
At the meeting, Göran Persson, former Prime Minister of Sweden, will propose a new Global Restoration Council to help galvanize action for forest and landscape restoration and build support to achieve The Bonn Challenge. The Council will be facilitated by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
“Restoring 150 million hectares of degraded lands represents an exciting and largely untapped opportunity to create more jobs and economic growth, while also protecting our climate,” said Prime Minister Persson, who is also a member of WRI’s board of directors. “I am delighted to be announcing this new Council to raise attention and generate action to strengthen our forests, our economies, our climate, and our lives. I look forward to working with world leaders, businesses, and other colleagues in an effort that will send a strong signal that forest and land restoration must be pursued globally.”
The Bonn Challenge builds on a new global assessment identifying that more than 2 billion hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded lands are available for restoration. This assessment, carried out by WRI, the South Dakota State University, and IUCN on behalf of the Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration, nearly doubles the previous estimate, reflecting greater precision and a better understanding of the conditions needed for forests to grow.
“Forest restoration is big idea that carries many benefits. It will improve food security, enhance biodiversity, protect our climate, and generate jobs,” said Manish Bapna, interim President for WRI. “With this new 150 million hectare target– and support from leaders like Mr. Persson— we have a great opportunity to take action that will enhance the resilience of people and nature.”
Restoring 150 million hectares of land reflects a significant contribution to implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Target 15 and the REDD-plus agreement of the UNFCCC. The CBD Target 15 calls for the restoration of at least 15 percent of degraded ecosystems by 2020, and the REDD-Plus goal is to slow, halt and reverse forest cover and carbon loss, including through the enhancement of forest carbon stocks.