C’est Bonn, la challenge

20 Dec 2017

The Bonn Challenge is a global ambition to restore 150 million ha of world’s deforested and degraded land by 2020 and 350 million ha by 2030. World leaders at a ministerial round table in Bonn, Germany, launched it in September 2011. Later it was endorsed and extended by 2030 under the New York Declaration of Forest (NYDF) at the 2014 UN Climate Summit. 

Actually the Bonn Challenge is not a new global commitment, but rather an action-oriented platform which aim is to facilitate implementation of existing international commitments, including the CBD Aichi Target 15, the UNFCCC REDD+ goal and the WRI AFR100 (an African movement which aim is to restore 100 million ha of degraded land by 2030).

Underlying the Bonn Challenge is the FLR (Forest Landscape Restoration) approach. Most opportunities in FLR belong in one of two basic groups; wide-scale restoration aims to restore or create landscape where forest would become the dominant land use; while mosaic-type restoration aims to restore or create landscape of multiple lands uses, making farmland more productive.

The Bonn Challenge Barometer Spotlight Report 2017 was presented by The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) at the launchpad event during the Global Landscape Forum in Bonn. The report provides a snapshot of progress on the Bonn Challenge, and highlights progress towards implementing Bonn Challenge commitments in five pilot countries: Brazil, El Salvador, Mexico, Rwanda, and the United States.

Hon. Lina Pohl, Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources from El Salvador gave the overview of the El Salvador restoration progress. She stressed that “central America is one the most vulnerable regions to the climate change because it is small, it is in the middle and it depends on influence of two oceans, Atlantic and Pacific…the climate change has already arrived in El Salvador, we have seen what are the consequences; hurricanes from the both oceans, and changing patterns in weather during the rainy period and because of that we have problems with coffee production”. Because of the high deforestation only 38 % of the original cover is left and this is the reason that the agriculture and Land use change are the largest sources of the GHGs in El Salvador.

To halt the deforestation and to reforest the country they have started the National Landscape and Ecosystem Restoration Program with the aim to restore the degraded area and to create different forest and agriculture systems. “For us restoration is a must, we have to restore half of the country within the framework of the Bonn challenge…if we don’t adapt to climate change our country wouldn’t survive, either socially, either economically” stated the Hon. Lina Pohl. El Salvador government has created high technology land use map and technical sheets and has calculated specific restoration costs to help the reforestation efforts. Thanks also to the strong national commitment El Salvador has already reforested 113,000 in the last 3 years.

Felix Rurangwa, Deputy Director General for Forest, Research and Extension, Rwanda Water and Forestry Authority showed the importance of the forest in Rwanda: it covers 30 % of the total land area, supply 98 % of domestic cooking energy and contribute to the 5 % of the country’s GDP. It is important for tourism revenue and it protect watersheds and support agriculture. As other countries in Africa Rwanda also have challenges to stop deforestation and forest degradation. Main drivers are agriculture (95 % subsistence), urbanisation, infrastructure development and mining activities. Impacts are loss of biodiversity, erosion and GHGs emission.

Rwanda has been one of the the first country that has adopted the Bonn Challenge. The results are that almost 700,000 ha of land is under the reforestation (50 % of the target) and 125,000 green jobs were created between 2014 and 2017. The FLR have contributed to the local livelihoods by providing with the income and improved agriculture productivity. FLR support will also help to reinforce good governance in forestry while reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and reducing poverty in rural and forest depending communities.

Dr. Horst Freiberg from BMUB, Germany and one of the founder of Bonn challenge explained that Bonn Challenge Barometer is important tool to measure results and success but also to see bottlenecks, to check where improvement is needed. Bonn Challenge Barometer helps to connect countries, organisation and people, so that they can share experiences and learn from each other to easier implement it on the ground. It is not controlling mechanism but a helping tool to easier achieve Bonn challenge goals.

Stewart Maginnis, Global Director, Nature-Based Solutions, IUCN concluded the launchpad “When you hear reforestation is too expensive, restoration takes two much time you have evidence from these countries, in their own context, in their own need, that restoration creates jobs, creates livelihoods. that reforestation helped got jobs. We hope that by 2020 we will have evidence that reforestation is not only possible, but it happens, and it brings benefits.”

Blogpost by Sasa Danon- #GLFBonn2017 Social Reporter – sdanon(at)yahoo.com
Picture by Mokhamad Edliadi/CIFOR

This post is part of the live coverage during the GLF Bonn 2017 Global event. This post is written by one of our social reporters, and represents the author’s views only.

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