In much of Africa, rural farmers and communities are losing their land to government, investors and others. It's creating profound impacts on local livelihoods and the environment.
Last month, 40 nations agreed to restore 5 million hectares (12.4 million acres) of degraded lands and areas of low-quality bamboo production into productive, healthy bamboo forests at the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan’s (INBAR) Ninth Council Session in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
This pledge will help answer the Bonn Challenge—an effort to pledge to have 150 million hectares (370 million acres) of degraded and deforested lands in restoration programs by 2020—and could create significant environmental and climate benefits, if bamboo can overcome its image problem.
The New York Declaration on Forests issued at the UN Climate Summit last month includes a global pledge to restore 350 million hectares of deforested and degraded landscapes by 2030.
Several countries confirmed their commitment to restore millions of hectares of degraded land, with Ethiopia making one of the most significant pledges—setting a target to restore 15 million hectares of degraded and deforested land into productivity by 2025.
One of the most far-reaching of the commitments from the recent UN Climate Summit is the New York Declaration on Forests, which includes a plan restore 350 million hectares of degraded forest landscapes into productivity by 2030. While restoration holds great promise for many countries, this ambitious new target is especially important for Africa. As we’re already seeing, if done right, restoration could boost food and water security, improve livelihoods, and curb climate change in some of the most vulnerable regions on Earth.
On September 23, heads of state and leaders in finance, business and civil society will gather in New York City for the United Nations Climate Summit, aimed at jump-starting talks to reach a global climate agreement by December 2015. It's hardly the first time these actors have convened to counter climate change. Here's why this summit is worth watching.
The just concluded U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit focused attention on Africa’s promises and challenges, including energy, agriculture and the $14 billion in investment pledged by companies. The visiting heads of state—just shy of 50—also discussed climate change and its effects on crop production, nutrition and food security. New research by the World Resources Institute and Rights and Resources Initiative on the climate dividends of secure community land rights can help Africa address these challenges.
The solution to improving food security and resilience in Africa is no secret: all sectors need to work together to scale up climate-smart agriculture. What's needed now is political will to make that happen.
Community land lies at the heart of rural life in Africa, so losing community rights to land can undermine livelihoods and trigger conflict. Most governments recognize customary tenure arrangements that establish communities' rights to land and natural resources, but few governments have the strong legislation needed to help communities protect the land they depend upon. A new video explains.
A U.N. working group of 70 member states recently adopted a proposed set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to succeed the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set to expire in 2015. The “post-2015” SDGs will aim to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030 while also supporting inclusive economic development and environmental sustainability. While the proposal puts forward a plethora of targets for the international community to pursue between 2015 and 2030, it leaves out a critical component of improving rural livelihoods—securing community land rights.