Political will for restoration has never been stronger. Restoration is widely understood as a key strategy to meet climate change and sustainable development goals and to secure vital food, water, and energy resources.
Back in October 2015, the African Union endorsed a target to restore 100 million hectares (247 million acres) of degraded land by 2030. To facilitate action towards this target and as a contribution to the Bonn Challenge and African Resilient Landscapes Initiative (ARLI) the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (ARF100) was launched at UNFCCC COP 21.
The TerrAfrica Partnership recently hosted a side event at the Africa Pavilion during the UNFCCC COP 22 in Morocco titled “Towards Building a convening platform for various landscapes initiatives in Africa” to identify synergies and deliberate on moving towards a coordination platform for the various sustainable land management, restoration and landscapes initiatives on the continent.
“Fifty years from now, people will look back and say that this was the Restoration Generation.” said Craig Hanson, the Global Director for Food, Forests, and Water at the World Resources Institute, noting the increased momentum on the landscapes restoration agenda and the momentum towards building synergies.
It’s pivotal to take advantage of existing platforms in the continent to establish and convene the platform for various Landscapes Initiatives in Africa as improved coordination will help garner financial support in line with the Paris Declaration on aid effectiveness.
“Building a convening platform for various landscapes initiatives in Africa will connect African political leadership with a robust package of financial and technical resources to accelerate large-scale land and Forest Land Restoration (FLR) across Africa.” said Mrs. Estherine Fotabong, Director of Program Implementation and Coordination at NEPAD Agency during her opening remark at the event.
“This will not only contribute to raising awareness and building coalitions for national partnerships, but also identify, analyze, and upscale successful land and forest restoration experiences with an emphasis on grassroots innovations,” Mrs. Fotabong added.
Currently, there is a growing number of land-related initiatives at regional and continental level, which complement and reinforce each other. These initiatives contribute to the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement which recognizes that the restoration of degraded lands and the fight against desertification are key strategies to adapt to and mitigate climate change. However, there is need for clarity on how exactly these various initiatives are linked and the synergies that can be built for better governance.
“It is important that this landscapes movement builds synergies and coordinates efforts at both country and regional levels” added Mr. Hanson.
Mrs. Rudo Makunike, TerrAfrica Project Manager reiterated that “Better coordination of efforts will help the continent to respond better to Africa’s sustainable development agenda as enshrined in both the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and Africa’s Agenda 2063.”
Moving forward, a follow-up action will be made to establish and convene the platform for various Landscapes Initiatives in Africa.