Accion Andina
Photo UNEP/Todd Brown. UN World Restoration Flagship Accion Andina. Ecuador

Nairobi, 13 February 2024 – Acción Andina is a social movement to save the Andean forests, home to one-sixth of all plant life on the planet. Breaking through an impasse in protecting a critical ecosystem and championing community-led restoration of nature, it is honoured today as one of seven UN World Restoration Flagships and is now eligible for technical and financial UN support.

Acción Andina is the first multi-country, large-scale initiative to restore high altitude forests spanning five Andean countries of South America: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, and Perú, with plans to expand to Colombia and Venezuela. A biodiversity hotspot, the region is home to about 45,000 plant species and thousands of birds, reptile, and amphibian species. The World Restoration Flagship awards are part of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration – led by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) – which aims to prevent, halt, and reverse the degradation of ecosystems on every continent and in every ocean. The awards track notable initiatives following global commitments to restore one billion hectares – an area larger than China. The award for Acción Andina was announced by UN Environment Programme Goodwill Ambassador, super-model and philanthropist, Gisele Bündchen.

Since 2018, Acción Andina has enabled the set-up of 22 projects, engaging 25,000 people to restore nearly 5,000 hectares of Andean forests and protect more than 11,250 hectares of existing forests. More than 200 local communities have benefited from increased economic opportunities through reforestation and forest protection, new community micro-businesses, access to medical care, water catchment systems, clean-burning clay stoves and solar panels, as well as secure local communities’ title to lands.

The initiative hopes to mobilize new supporters for its target budget of USD 10-15 million over the next three years and USD 100 million by 2030 – the amount required to protect and restore one million hectares by 2045, a forest area 50 times the size of Buenos Aires, all while creating jobs in the process. “It may take a single chainsaw to cut down a forest, but it takes a community to restore and sustain it,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP. “By bringing people together, and using both indigenous values and scientific methods, Acción Andina is helping to revive natural water sources, create jobs and support communities grow even stronger.”

The Andean initiative was originally championed by Indigenous Peruvian leader, Constantino (Tino) Aucca Chutas, the President of ECOAN and Co-Founder of Acción Andina, who was recognized in 2022 as a UNEP Champion of the Earth. It follows the ancient Inca principles of Ayni & Minka, which embody a profound commitment to work together for the common good. “Acción Andina will plant millions of native trees along the Andes, to secure water, landscapes and protect the ecosystems, biodiversity, and culture. Local and native communities demand it, and the planet deserves it. It is time to be part of the solution and not only spectators in the global climate and nature crisis” said Aucca. Florent Kaiser, CEO of Global Forest Generation and Co-Founder of Acción Andina, said: “We must take this community-driven spirit globally and work to unite the billions of people across communities, businesses, investors, governments, and general society into a giant movement to take action to protect and restore ecosystems over the decades and centuries it will take to heal our planet’s vital systems together.”

As a UN World Restoration Flagship, Acción Andina is recognized as one of the best examples of large-scale and long-term ecosystem restoration in any country or region, embodying the 10 Principles for Restoration. The announcement of seven new World Restoration Flagships was just ahead of the 6th UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-6), held between February 26 and March 1, 2024. The Assembly convenes the world’s Environment Ministers in Nairobi, Kenya, to address the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity and nature loss, and pollution and waste.

Accion Andina
Photos UNEP/Todd Brown. UN World Restoration Flagship Accion Andina. Ecuador


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ℹ️ About the partner organizations:

The UN General Assembly has declared 2021–2030 a UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. Led by the UN Environment Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, together with the support of partners, it is designed to prevent, halt, and reverse the loss and degradation of ecosystems worldwide. It aims at reviving billions of hectares, covering terrestrial as well as aquatic ecosystems. A global call to action, the UN Decade draws together political support, scientific research, and financial muscle to massively scale up restoration.

Countries have already promised to restore 1 billion hectares – an area larger than China – as part of their commitments to the Paris Climate Agreement, the Aichi targets for biodiversity, the Land Degradation Neutrality targets and the Bonn Challenge. However, little is known about the progress or quality of this restoration. With the World Restoration Flagships, the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration is honouring the best examples of large-scale and long-term ecosystem restoration in any country or region, embodying the 10 Restoration Principles of the UN Decade. Progress of all World Restoration Flagships will be transparently monitored through the Framework for Ecosystem Restoration Monitoring, the UN Decade’s platform for keeping track of global restoration efforts.

UNEP is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

FAO is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Its goal is to achieve food security for all and make sure that people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active healthy lives. With over 194-Member Nations, FAO works in over 130 countries worldwide.

Acción Andina was co-founded by the Peruvian conservation nonprofit Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos (ECOAN) and US conservation nonprofit Global Forest Generation (GFG), which develops large-scale ecosystem restoration partnerships with local leaders and communities, essential for climate resilience and the protection of biodiversity, water, and livelihoods. GFG identified the lack of sufficient
local leadership and long-term support as primary reasons the world is not collectively succeeding at restoring and protecting the Earth’s most vulnerable, critical ecosystems.

✉️  For more information, please contact News desk, UN Environment Programme[email protected]

✉️ To contact the initiative:

  • Constantino “Tino” Aucca Chutas, President of ECOAN: Spanish, English, Quechua: [email protected]
  • Florent Kaiser, CEO of GFG: German, French, English, Spanish: [email protected]

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