WRI worked with partners to establish AFR100, an African-led initiative that helps advance the African Union goal of restoring 100 million hectares of degraded land. To date, AFR100 partner countries have committed to bring 63.3 million hectares of land into restoration by 2030 and nearly $1.5 billion has been earmarked to support the 100 million hectare target.
Nearly two-thirds of Africa’s land is degraded, which hinders sustainable economic development and resilience to climate change. As a result, Africa has the largest restoration opportunity of any continent: more than 700 million hectares (1.7 billion acres) of degraded forest landscapes that can be restored. The potential benefits include improved food and water security, biodiversity protection, climate change resilience, and economic growth. Recognizing this opportunity, the African Union set an ambitious target to restore 100 million hectares of degraded land by 2030.
Partners including The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ), the World Bank, and WRI supported the establishment of AFR100 and attracted additional financial and technical partners. The partnership includes investors, in-country partners like the Green Belt Movement and Kijani (Forests for Change) in Kenya, and longstanding global partners such as the Global Environment Facility, IUCN, FAO, and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF). This extensive partner network reinforces critical links between AFR100 and the Bonn Challenge, the African Resilient Landscapes Initiative, and other restoration initiatives.
To secure political commitments to AFR100, partners worked with national stakeholders to underscore the close alignment between restoration and numerous sustainable development goals. Partners also provided analyses to decision-makers showing where restoration is already happening, the size and location of restoration opportunities, and pathways for scaling up restoration. AFR100 was influenced by Initiative 20x20, an effort to restore 20 million hectares (nearly 50 million acres) in Latin America and the Caribbean by 2020, for which WRI is the secretariat.
AFR100 connects political partners – participating African nations – with technical and financial support to assess restoration opportunities, develop strategies, and implement restoration on the ground at scale. To date, 21 AFR100 partner countries have committed to bring 63.3 million hectares (156 million acres) – an area nearly the size of France – into the process of restoration by 2030. Financial partners have earmarked $481 million in private finance and $1 billion in development finance to support the 100 million hectare target. Many AFR100 partner countries are beginning to scale up proven restoration approaches and monitor their progress.
Today, Brazil’s Ministries of Agriculture and the Environment announced their intent to restore and promote sustainable agriculture across 22 million hectares of degraded land, the largest restoration commitment ever made by a single nation.
Restoring degraded landscapes and forests has the potential to enhance social and economic well-being while delivering powerful environmental benefits. The challenge is getting the funding to make that happen.
While Latin America and the Caribbean have lost an area of land the size of Mexico to deforestation and degradation, all hope is not lost. Restoration success stories from three nations point to a way forward.
Since COP21 in Paris this past December, countries around the globe have committed to bring more than 85 million hectares of degraded land into restoration by 2020. In Latin America and the Caribbean, nearly 28 million hectares have been committed to Initiative 20x20 since its launch in December 2014 – quickly surpassing its 20 million hectare goal. In Africa, 13 countries have committed 41 million hectares since the launch of...
Countries in Latin America are seizing the opportunity to restore degraded landscapes, capturing gains in agricultural production, soil and water quality, and conservation of biodiversity, while also creating sizable carbon sinks. Through Initiative 20x20, the first regional commitment to forest and landscape restoration at scale in Latin America, a group of governments pledged to restore over 23.8 million hectares (59 million acres), attracting $670 million in impact investment pledges.
Global demand for forestry commodities is rising rapidly, especially in emerging and developing economies. Producing fuel, fiber and timber from forests creates opportunity for economic growth but also increases pressure on natural resources. Globally, about 13 million hectares (32 million acres) are being cleared each year, and in the past decade most of the world’s forest loss has occurred in the tropics. Commercial agriculture is responsible for 71 percent of tropical deforestation worldwide, much of it illegal. Latin America has a huge opportunity to scale up restoration of degraded lands but as of August 2014 only El Salvador had made an international commitment when it pledged to restore one million hectares through the Bonn Challenge.
WRI helped launch Initiative 20x20, a country-led effort to bring 20 million hectares (49 million acres) of land in Latin America and the Caribbean into restoration by 2020, at the Lima COP20 climate conference. WRI supports Initiative 20x20 through its Global Restoration Initiative and facilitates the dialogue between governments, civil society and the private sector to build a coalition and achieve the initiative’s goals.
WRI recruited local and regional institutions such as Bioversity International, CATIE, CIAT, Fundación Agreste, ICRAF, Instituto Humboldt, IUCN and Sustainable Amazon Foundation to become partners, making this an initiative supported by Latin American institutions. WRI also made the economic case for restoration to governments and the private sector, including impact investors. The team identified large areas with restoration potential in the “Atlas of Forest and Landscape Restoration Opportunities,” highlighted examples of successful restoration, and developed a Restoration Diagnostic tool to guide action.
Initiative 20x20 is the first-ever regional commitment to forest and landscape restoration at scale in Latin America. Over the past 12 months, Initiative 20x20 has helped to mobilize political commitments to restore 23.8 million hectares (59 million acres) of forestlands (an area nearly as large as the United Kingdom) and impact investment commitments of $670 million. The team also convened a diverse regional technical partnership to support successful implementation of these commitments.
In Paris today, a coalition of more than a dozen African countries, nine financing organizations and 10 technical partners announced a new initiative called the African Restoration Initiative (AFR100), with the goal of restoring 100 million hectares of degraded and deforested land in Africa by 2030.