The Bonn Challenge approaches 50 million hectares mark!
The global movement to restore 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested land by 2020 – known as the “Bonn Challenge” – gained further momentum at the December UN Climate Talks in Doha, as Costa Rica and El Salvador each commit up to1 million hectares. The 50 million hectare mark – or one third of the target – is now within reach, amid broad acknowledgement that the largest restoration initiative in history is truly underway.
Achieving the Bonn Challenge would deliver a host of major benefits to humanity and the planet, such as improving food security, protecting biodiversity and benefiting people’s livelihoods. Costa Rica and El Salvador are the latest in joining USA, Rwanda and the Brazilian Mata Atlantica Restoration Pact in making pledges.
“Restoring 150 million hectares over the next 10 years could potentially close the ‘emissions gap’ by 11-17% and inject more than US$ 80 billion per year into local and national economies,” according to Stewart Maginnis, Global Director of Nature-Based Solutions, IUCN.
Earlier this year, during the UN Sustainable Development “Rio +20” talks in Rio de Janeiro, more than one million people voted the Bonn Challenge as the second most important issue upon which heads of state should act. To harness this public appetite, Airbus and IUCN launched the Plant a Pledge campaign, which through an online petition empowers all people to call on governments, landowners and communities to contribute land to the Bonn Challenge. This unique partnership has provided a platform that has driven popular involvement in the recent successes of the Bonn Challenge and shows leadership in working together to activate practical solutions.
With formal pledges now over 20 million hectares, a pre-pledge declaration of intent from India of 10 million, and another 20 million in the pipeline from the Meso American Alliance of Peoples and Forests, a staggering 50 million hectares of commitments is now within reach.
“Our commitment to restoring one million hectares - half the country's territory - is a serious and desperate response to a changing climate that earned El Salvador the first and fourth places in Germanwatch´s Global Climate Risk Index in 2009 and 2011, respectively,” says Herman Rosa Chavez, Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources for El Salvador. “With adequate support, landscape restoration at this scale will also allow us to make an important contribution to climate change mitigation and biodiversity conservation, greatly enhancing our carbon sinks, improving livelihoods, ecosystem services and disaster resilience. Landscape restoration may be seen as a mitigation strategy, but for El Salvador it is an urgent and essential element for adaptation and reducing escalating climate related losses and damages.”
“I urge everyone to support our campaign and sign our petition at www.plantapledge.com.” says Bianca Jagger, Ambassador of the Plant a Pledge Campaign, and Chair of the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation.