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STATEMENT: Landmark $2.1 Billion Earmarked to Restore Degraded Lands in Latin America, Offering Global Climate Solution

BONN (November 9, 2017)–Today at COP23, World Resources Institute (WRI) announced a landmark $2.1 billion of private investment earmarked to restore degraded lands in Latin America and the Caribbean through Initiative 20x20. As of now, 19 private investors are supporting more than 40 restoration projects, with 10 million hectares of land already in restoration. This demonstrates strong private sector interest in restoration in Latin America and across the globe.

Land-use change, forestry and agriculture account for roughly half of all GHG emissions from Latin America and the Caribbean, and are featured in many countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Forest and landscape restoration is critical to meet the Paris Agreement goal of keeping global warming below 2° C, as new research reveals that restoration has the single largest potential for storing carbon of any land-based climate solution.

Through Initiative 20x20, 16 countries have committed to restore 53.2 million hectares of land, far surpassing the initial goal to bring 20 million hectares into restoration by 2020. The new investments have global implications as there are more than two billion hectares of degraded and deforested land worldwide and an annual shortfall of about $300 billion needed for restoration and conservation.

Following is a statement by Walter Vergara, Coordinator of Initiative 20x20, World Resources Institute:

“Restoration in Latin America is an unmissable opportunity. With more than $2 billion of investments earmarked for Latin America alone, restoration is a climate solution that works and is a great investment. Bringing degraded and deforested lands back to life is a win-win-win for investors, governments and local communities. This is precisely why restoration continues to build political and financial momentum.

“WRI research shows the economic benefits of restoring 20 M ha of degraded land in Latin America could reach $23 billion, while at the same time reducing GHG emissions, improving food security and livelihoods. The success of Initiative 20x20 in attracting private investment in Latin America is a model for success for other regions and can deliver major emission reductions to meet commitments to the Paris Agreement.

“Investors clearly see the benefits of restoration – boosting agricultural productivity, creating jobs, improving biodiversity, generating clean water and increasing economic growth, all while reducing emissions. Though restoration has long been recognized by the environmental community as a high-impact climate solution, we are now seeing investors move more quickly than ever to capitalize on the business of planting trees.

"Today, we have reached an important milestone for Initiative 20x20 with $2.1 billion of financing earmarked from 19 investors. This private sector investment is already turning restoration commitments into realities on almost 10 million hectares of land. As interest continues to grow, the time is now to invest in restoration and bring vitality back to degraded lands.”

For more information visit http://www.wri.org/our-work/project/initiative-20x20

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