From international policy changes to school and community projects, this year has seen an unprecedented level of attention placed on our forests, and the challenges facing them. IUCN’s Forest Programme has enjoyed many successes over the course of the year and momentum is building on several fronts.
Along with the United Nations Forum on Forests, IUCN was the major partner in supporting Rwanda’s Forest Landscape Restoration initiative. In February, the Rwandan government committed to border-to-border restoration of its natural ecosystems, upon which a vast majority of its population already depends for their livelihoods.
At the time of Rwanda’s announcement IUCN predicted that it could mark the beginning of the largest restoration initiative the world has ever seen—and it looks as though this is already happening. Rwanda’s national commitment has helped build the momentum for a global landscape restoration drive and in September IUCN supported the German government in convening ministers and chief executives of major organizations and companies in Bonn, Germany. At that conference, a joint commitment was made to restore 150 million hectares of deforested and degraded landscapes by 2020.
In other work, 2011 will see us wrapping up the first phase of our five-year Livelihoods and Landscapes Strategy, which has been improving sustainable management of natural resources, and the lives of people who depend on them, in more than 20 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Every year is vital for the world’s forests and much more needs to be done. IUCN will continue its work with the support of our partners, donors and the wider general public to find solutions which benefit forests and the people and biodiversity that depend on them.