Two robust forest landscape restoration (FLR) resources, InfoFLR and the Bonn Challenge Barometer, were presented by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Director General Inger Andersen, and Germany’s Jochen Flasbarth, Permanent State Secretary, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) at the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP22) in Marrakech, Morocco.
State Secretary Flasbarth was enthusiastic about progress on the Bonn Challenge, a global effort to restore 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested land by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030. He pointed out that, “Here in Marrakesh, it’s all about implementation. And that’s what we need to do with the Bonn Challenge. Decision makers require more information – what is the potential in our country and what have we done towards achieving it? The new tool, InfoFLR, launched by IUCN will be very helpful in this regard.”
He continued by celebrating Germany’s partnership with IUCN in the Bonn Challenge Barometer project. The Barometer will collect data, profile restoration leadership and share quantifiable progress on the implementation of Bonn Challenge commitments. Its goal is to equip pledgers and partners working towards the Bonn Challenge goal with information to accelerate action, address implementation bottlenecks and direct investors and donors towards opportunities. Developed by IUCN with the support of the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of BMUB Germany, it will be piloted in six jurisdictions to start.
Carole Saint-Laurent, Deputy Director, Global Forest and Climate Change Programme (GFCCC), IUCN said, “It is fitting that we are here today, sharing these tools with you in the midst of the UN climate change negotiations. One of the most fundamental things we can do to ensure the achievement of the global targets on climate change, biodiversity and land degradation is to equip decision makers with timely and reliable information. And these tools will do just that.”
InfoFLR will feature information on more than 90 countries, including domestic targets, policies and programmes related to restoration, as well as how restoration is realised in those countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs). The website will also provide information on assessments of restoration opportunities, using the Restoration Opportunities Assessment Methodology (ROAM), developed by IUCN and the World Resources Institute. These country profiles, created by IUCN, will highlight opportunities to deliver on existing domestic restoration goals while making important linkages to international climate change, biodiversity and land degradation neutrality goals.
“I had the chance to visit projects contributing to the Bonn Challenge and they are really something we can be very proud of. The regions took over – in Latin America, in Africa and in Asia. This is how international goals work, they are sometimes slow, sometimes very speedy but the magic is when they are inclusive and showing real on-ground results, like the Bonn Challenge." –State Secretary Jochen Flasbarth
Achieving the 350 million hectare goal could sequester up to 1.7 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent annually. Andersen added, “If we were to [reach] our 350 [million hectare] goal and we stopped deforestation, the carbon storage would be equivalent to all the cars driving today on the world’s roads. So, these are not small pieces. These are massive.” She later emphasised the importance of investing in nature as a means to overcome our obstacles and achieve our goals.
“What does it look like when we invest in… nature’s infrastructure? We tend to think about infrastructure as something that is hard and concrete, but in fact nature’s infrastructure is the one that we take for granted. Those sea grasses, the mangroves, coastal forests, the forests – that are providing water, protection, food, etc. – they are the very lungs that we require to live on this good earth. So we’re very happy to be launching InfoFLR.org. We have 45 countries listed now, and more are coming. You’ll find a lot of detailed information [there], and we encourage everyone to go to InfoFLR.org.” –IUCN Director General Inger Andersen
Together, the Barometer and InfoFLR website will assist governments and others with determining pledges, exploring opportunities and potential benefits, identifying suitable interventions, and monitoring success. This brings us closer to achieving the Bonn Challenge by providing more and improved resources to make investments in nature.