The Restoration Academy is an initiative that seeks to connect local and national restoration implementers with the United Nations Decade of Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030) to exchange experiences, create networks and further promote restoration processes globally.

June 17, 2022, San Salvador, El Salvador. To establish work synergies between local, national and regional organizations of the Central American Integration System (SICA) with the United Nations Decade, the Restoration Academy was launched with a workshop with more than 30 participants held from June 14 to 16 in San Salvador, El Salvador.

Participants of the Restoration Academy’s first workshop series at the kick-off workshop in San Salvador. They are working for various local and regional organizations based in El Salvador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.

In the launch participated the Executive Secretary of the Central American Commission on Environment and Development (CCAD), Jair Urriola, the director of the Green Development Fund (GDF), Jan Bock; as well as representatives of the Central American Agricultural Council (CAC), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) as well as more than 20 representatives of local and national organizations - most of them implementing restoration projects within the framework of the Green Development Fund for the SICA region (FDV for its acronym in Spanish) - from Central America and the Dominican Republic.

Central American countries are forerunners in ecosystem restoration and have largely supported the global Bonn Challenge initiative and the establishment of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. The region is therefore the first to pilot the implementation of the Restoration Academy a concept to be replicated in sub-Saharan Africa starting in the third quarter of this year.

The Restoration Academy aims to integrate implementing institutions in the field with the Decade of Ecosystem Restoration and comprises of eight sessions, seven of them virtual, in the form of workshops where participants will exchange experiences, establish networks and identify and define joint actions to further advance the Decade of Ecosystem Restoration.

The workshops will be held from June to December of this year and will conclude with the presentation of proposals to implement new regional restoration projects. This initiative was jointly designed by the GIZ projects "Green Development Fund for the SICA region / REDD+ Landscape" and "Support to the Design and Implementation of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (DEER)".

During the kick-off session UNEP representatives presented the structure of the UN Decade and the different possibilities to join the global network, e.g., by becoming an official partner. Representatives from FAO and the PANORAMA platform also shared options for promoting good restoration practices globally.

The kick-off finalized with a field visit to the Ramsar side Jaltepeque, a mangrove area in the south of the Pacific coast of El Salvador where restoration and reforestation has been implemented with support of the Green Development Fund.

Day three of the kick-off workshop: Participants visited the Jaltepeque Ramsar Site on the Pacific coast of El Salvador To learn about different mangrove restoration techniques.

The Decade of Ecosystem Restoration aims to globally drive the restoration of one billion hectares of degraded land; to achieve this, the UN is striving to create a strong, broad-based global movement called #GenerationRestoration in which everyone can participate.

In addition, the Decade involves a call to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation and destruction of ecosystems worldwide; as ecosystem restoration has been proven to be a powerful tool to counteract the negative effects of climate change, halt biodiversity loss and improve people's livelihoods.

During the Bonn Challenge High Level Meeting in 2018, El Salvador announced that it would propose the celebration of a United Nations Decade for Ecosystem Restoration, so that existing efforts to restore degraded ecosystems would be further boosted.

In 2019, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration would be celebrated from 2021 to 2030, following the proposal submitted by El Salvador, which was supported by more than 70 countries around the world. The end of the Decade coincides with the year in which the period to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) also concludes, as it is considered by experts as the deadline to prevent climate change from becoming catastrophic.

This is why the Green Development Fund (FDV) strengthens the capacity of SICA member countries to effectively manage, implement and monitor investments in ecosystem and landscape restoration.

The FDV is financed by the European Union, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV), within the framework of the International Climate Initiative (IKI) and is implemented at the regional level by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in coordination with CCAD and at the national level by the Ministries of Environment of each country where restoration projects are implemented with strategic partners.

Photographic credits: the Green Development Fund for the SICA region.

This story was originally published here