The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed 2021–2030 as the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, following a proposal for action by over 70 countries from all latitudes. The UN Decade positions the restoration of ecosystems as a major nature-based solution towards meeting a wide range of global development goals and national priorities. View the resolution here.
A detailed timeline and fact sheet is available here (French version & Spanish version).
Call for strong commitments
The UN Decade calls for strong commitments and efforts by countries, the international community, civil society, businesses, and others to achieve transformational ecosystem restoration. All ecosystems are addressed, including forests, grasslands, croplands, wetlands, savannahs, inland water, coastal and marine ecosystems, and even urban environments. On land, this involves the restoration of at least 350 million hectares of degraded landscapes by 2030, realizing up to US$9 trillion in net benefits and alleviating poverty in many rural communities. A target for coasts and oceans has yet to be set.
The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration aims to:
- Showcase successful government-led and private initiatives to halt ecosystem degradation, restore those ecosystems that have already been degraded
- Enhance knowledge exchange on what works and why (policy, economics and biophysical aspects), and how to implement restoration at scale
- Connect initiatives working in the same landscape, region, or topic, to increase efficiency and impact
- Create links between ecosystem restoration opportunities and initiatives with businesses interested in building a solid portfolio of sustainable production and impact investment
- Bring a wider spectrum of actors on board, especially from sectors that are not traditionally involved, by demonstrating the importance of ecosystem restoration to conservation as well as generation of social and economic benefits.
Healthy ecosystems key to human survival
We cannot realistically achieve the Sustainable Development Goals without addressing the threats to the very fabric of life on the planet. Climate change mitigation and adaptation, water, and food security, poverty reduction, economic growth, and biodiversity conservation all depend on thriving, well-functioning ecosystems.
The decade will call a halt to further degradation and accelerate existing global restoration efforts such as the Bonn Challenge, which aims to restore 350 million hectares of degraded land. This endeavor is reinforced by regional efforts such as Initiative 20x20 in Latin America— aiming to restore 20 million hectares of degraded land by 2020—and the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100)—with a goal of 100 million hectares of restored land by 2030. Similar regional initiatives in Asia, Central Europe, and the Mediterranean are gaining traction and political will as well.
Similar regional initiatives in Asia, Central Europe, and the Mediterranean are gaining traction and political will as well.
The Work planned for 2021–2030 will contribute to achieving targets set by international conventions and agreements such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2020 and Aichi Biodiversity Targets, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Paris Agreement, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, Land Degradation Neutrality, the Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) target setting programme, the Ramsar Convention, the Global Partnership on Forest and Landscape Restoration (GPFLR), the Global Restoration Council and the UN Strategic Plan for Forests 2017– 2030.