On the third day of the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2017, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) hosted several side events on forest landscape restoration in their pavilion at the Bonn zone.
An analysis conducted by the IUCN and Climate Focus revealed that only 8 Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) have unconditional concrete targets related to the forest sector, although 77% of the NDCs mention the importance of forests to achieve the Paris Agreement target. As stated in the sessions, mangrove restoration, reforestation, afforestation and agro-forestry, among others, have the potential to reduce atmospheric carbon concentrations. Nevertheless, pledges made under the Bonn challenge remain unconnected to the NDCs of each country and metrics are heterogeneous. Some national targets are measured in sequestrated tones of carbon, others in hectares of forest conversion. Emphasis is put on the various numbers of advantages to be gained from forest restoration, for example increased resilience to climate change, provision of water and biodiversity conservation.
“Make our communities safer, healthier and more prosperous.” – Bianca Jagger, IUCN Bonn Challenge Ambassador
An evening reception was accompanied by high-level keynote speakers, including the State Secretary of the German Ministry for Environment, the Deputy Minister of the Mahaweli Ministry for Development and Environment and the IUCN Bonn Challenge Ambassador. They reported on the journey of the Bonn challenge and proudly announced that the 2020 goal of restoring 150 Mio. hectares of forests was achieved already this year, according to promises given by participating nations.
As an important feature of the Bonn challenge ecological integrity, carbon sequestration and the needs of local communities are taken into account at the same time.