Photo Credit: Aaron Minnick/WRI

LANDSCAPE RESTORATION: AFR100 Launches, Initiative 20X20 Shows Results In Latin America

Building on the Bonn Challenge to restore 150 million hectares (370 million acres) of degraded land by 2020 and the New York Declaration on Forests to restore 350 million hectares (865 million acres) by 2030, 2015 saw a global surge in restoration commitments, with a new initiative in Africa and progress on the ground in Latin America.

Three powerful trends came together in 2015 to boost landscape restoration worldwide.

Globally, commitments to restoration soared from 60 million hectares (about 150 million acres) in 2014 to 90 million hectares by the Paris climate meeting, more than halfway to the Bonn Challenge target.

At COP21, the Africa 100 Initiative (AFR100) launched with an ambitious goal of restoring 100 million hectares of deforested and degraded land in Africa by 2030. Endorsed by the African Union and with support from the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD Agency), Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), WRI and other partners, this country-led initiative used the momentum of COP21 to launch a regional movement that will ultimately benefit the entire planet.

Funding commitments of $1 billion in development finance and $545 million in private sector impact investment will bring degraded forests and farmlands in Africa back to productivity, improving livelihoods while helping to curb global emissions.

Initiative 20x20, a country-led initiative launched in 2014 to restore 20 million hectares (49 million acres) of degraded land in Latin America and the Caribbean by 2020, surpassed its original target. WRI began linking investors with projects, facilitating investments from a pool of more than $700 million in commitments. Responding to growing country demand, the Inter-American Development Bank created a $15 million risk guarantee fund to back these projects and a long-term debt facility that enables project developers, countries and others to turn restoration ideas into reality.

“No place in the world has more to gain from restoration than Africa. And at the same time, what African countries achieve with restoration is really a gift to the rest of the world.”

Sean DeWitt

Director, WRI Global Restoration Initiative