Daily report for 13 December 2016

Rio Conventions Pavilion (RCP) at CBD COP13

The theme for the Rio Conventions Pavilion (RCP) on Tuesday, 13 December, was Forest Landscapes and Ecosystem Restoration. The session provided a forum to showcase planning and implementation measures and their coordination to reduce forest habitat loss, deforestation and forest degradation. The event was organized by the CBD, UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), International Union of Forestry Research Organizations (IUFRO), IUCN, FAO, and GEF. The Global Partnership on Forest and Landscape Restoration (GPFLR), Government of Mexico the Korean Forest Service (KERI) and Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) were partners.


Catalina Santamaria, CBD, moderated the session. Rafael León Negrete, Mexico, stressed the importance of articulated visions that integrate landscape use, restoration and management. He noted the importance of synergies between forest and agriculture, livestock and fisheries activities, showcasing Mexico’s strategies and monitoring systems. On governance, he highlighted community forestry.

Eva Müller, FAO, noted increasing recognition of the need to intensify work on forest restoration, drawing attention on the ‘Global Forest Resources Assessment 2015,’ that demonstrates that the rate of net global deforestation has slowed down while degradation is increasing.

Braulio Ferreira Souza Dias, Executive Secretary, CBD, on behalf of the Rio Conventions Joint Liaison Group (JLG), stressed the need for enhancing integration at country level on NDCs, National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and NBSAPs. He underscored that the CBD COP should adopt a decision on the role of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (GPF) on forest restoration. He announced the launch of the Forest Ecosystem Restoration Initiative (FERI) website (http://feri-biodiversity.org) supported by KERI.


Ulrich Apel, GEF, moderated the session. Jim Hallett, SER, noted SER’s recent publication of international standards on ecosystem restoration. He suggested that good restoration projects set clear management objectives and indicators that are easy to understand, measure and assess, and provide for proper monitoring. He drew attention to the recent enactment of legislation in São Paulo State, Brazil, on mandatory restoration, as an example of these principles in practice. 

Bernardo Strassburg, International Institute for Sustainability, Brazil, discussed optimization of large-scale ecosystem restoration through spatial prioritization using a linear programming algorithm. He provided the Atlantic Rainforest, a global biodiversity hotspot in Brazil, as an example. He said the model produced hundreds of geospatial maps showing different benefit combinations, and demonstrated that using spatial prioritization approaches can reduce costs by one-fourth, while producing 90% of the desired results.

Mirjam Kuzee, IUCN, provided an overview of Restoration Opportunities Assesment Methodology (ROAM), explaining that it identifies and helps prioritize forest landscape restoration (FLR) opportunities and is a stepwise, iterative, flexible process. She said ROAM considers: whether restoration is socially and economically feasible; the extent of restoration opportunities in the country/region; and financial and policy incentives. Kuzee noted that ROAM is used for scaling up, is country-driven, and has been applied in 28 countries.

The ensuing discussion focused on: compliance; whether countries can use ROAM without implementation assistance; engaging stakeholders; and parameters for demarcating landscapes for restoration. Kuzee explained that countries have voluntary commitments under the CBD and the Bonn Challenge, and that they make their own decisions regarding demarcation.


Michael Kleine, IUFRO, moderated the session. Agena Anjulo Tanga, Ethiopia, presented on building productive forest landscapes to contribute to improved livelihoods, energy supply, and income for rural people in Ethiopia. Tanga recalled that in 2014, his country pledged to rehabilitate 15 million hectares of degraded lands and seven million hectares of natural forests to productive use by 2025 at part of the Bonn Challenge. Highlighting problems, he noted identifying and demarcating forest lands that have been converted to agricultural use; and barriers to large scale implementation such as institutional challenges and lack of government support for tree planting farmers’ initiatives.

Marcial Amaro, the Philippines, presented his country’s National Greening Programme focusing on mainstreaming the landscape approach in land restoration. Highlighting annual forest losses of up to 47,000 hectares, he pointed to his country’s success in achieving the objective of planting 1.5 million hectares by 2016. Citing technologies used in modern forestry operations, he also highlighted problems encountered, including a lack of knowledge on landscape restoration science; inadequate forest extension service; lack of capacity-building efforts for farmers; and absence of market support services.

Ariuntuya Dorjsuren, Mongolia, described her country’s policies for achieving sustainable forest management. Pointing to the country’s vulnerability to climate change and desertification, with 78% of total territory classified as desert, she stressed the need for further focus on sustainable water and forest nexus management.

Beatriz Cardona, Guatemala, discussed the development of Guatemala’s National Forest Landscape Restoration Strategy 2015-2045, from the country’s Bonn Challenge commitment to restore 1.2 million hectares by 2045, to the implementation phase currently underway. She explained the Strategy focuses on six areas: economic development; livelihoods and biodiversity; capacity building; territorial governance; knowledge management; and financing of the Strategy.

Carlos Alberto de Mattos Scaramuzza, Brazil, described his country’s national policy for native vegetation recovery, which seeks to recover many forms of native vegetation, not just forests, on at least 12.5 million hectares within 20 years, in fulfillment of Brazil’s NDC and Bonn Challenge pledge. He explained the policy features eight strategies on: awareness; policy and access to seeds and seedlings; markets; institutions; finance; rural extension; spatial planning and monitoring; and research and development. He stressed the importance of public consultations, coordination between ministries, prioritization based on cost-effectiveness, and use of state-of-the-art science.

Janne S. Kotiaho, University of Jyväskylä, Finland, presented the natural restoration prioritization plan to meet Finland’s commitment to meet the Aichi Target to restore 15% of degraded areas. He outlined how a working group created by the government empirically defined the plan parameters, determined the current state of ecosystems, calculated the cost-effectiveness of restoration measures, and prioritized restoration measures by ecosystem type and degree of cost-effectiveness.

In the ensuing discussion, participants discussed multi-stakeholders involvement in forest landscape restoration. Tanga noted involvement of stakeholders at the district and local level to set degradation criteria and species to be used, while research institutes and ministries are preparing projects and funding proposals. Amaro stressed insuring private sector responsibility. Dorjsuren noted involving the private sector through incentives such as land use licenses when planting trees, and green loan funds. Cardona underscored proposing productive alternatives to communities, such as payments for tree planting, and the importance of building capacity in communities. Scaramuzza cautioned against creating an extra burden on established forest restoration initiatives, and stressed promoting institutional coherence and synergies and projects convergence. Kotiaho proposed involving all stakeholders in the planning phase of the project, but not in the science component, in order to avoid political compromises on degradation levels. Guariguata, highlighted dedicated stakeholders platforms, and the need for dialogue between sectors, commending the Philippines use of public access databases. 


Lars Laestadius, Laestadius Consulting LLC, moderated the session. Highlighting the Bonn Challenge, he noted that countries are stepping up with commitments but that questions remain on: whether these commitments lead to real action on the ground; how to monitor them; criteria for determining when an area has “graduated” in terms of restoration; agreement on what constitutes FLR; and who collects data and how. He highlighted the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative (GGW) and explained that restoration needs and opportunities have been mapped and quantified with the aim of achieving the Aichi Target of 15% restoration by 2020.

On participatory monitoring, Manuel Guariguata, CIFOR, pointed to the challenge of reaching middle ground between top-down and bottom-up approaches, by connecting global monitoring needs and capacities with local ones. He emphasized the need for disaggregated monitoring and highlighted the review ‘Success from the Ground Up: Participatory Monitoring and Forest Restoration,’ which found, inter alia, that to reach middle ground, a small number of indicators should be used, and that local people with appropriate training can reliably collect data.

Eva Müller highlighted the FLR monitoring roadmap finalized in April 2016 and FAO’s online tools for FLR reporting. She stressed the need to help countries develop and use low-cost methodologies that do not require external donor support. She also called for moving towards a commonly accepted set of definitions and indicators for FLR monitoring.

Robin Chazdon, WRI, said FLR indicators are needed that can: be applied at multiple spatial scales; be monitored over long periods; assess the state of degraded ecosystems; assess the provision of basic ecosystem services; and evaluate the effect of interventions on endangered or threatened species, local livelihoods, food security, and resilience and adaptation to climate change.

Al Unwin, SER, stressed the importance of monitoring the ecological restoration process. He urged the FLR community to build a strong business case for robust monitoring, articulating how returns on restoration investments over time can only be determined with effective monitoring.

Janne Kotiaho questioned the need to monitor all programmes and projects, suggesting that a few well-designed, replicable monitoring programmes covering a limited set of indicators might suffice. He noted that IPBES currently is working on common definitions on degradation.

Mirjam Kuzee proposed that monitoring should focus less on biophysical aspects and more on socioeconomic indicators relating to degradation drivers. She highlighted IUCN’s development of the Bonn Challenge Barometer to track country commitment implementation through to 2030.

Manuel Guariguata said local monitoring does not necessarily mean low-tech, and high-tech methods can be used as long as local users are trained to use them.

In the ensuing discussion participants addressed how to insure project continuity in situations where monitoring uncovers negative outcomes. One participant observed that ¡§failures¡¨ often provide more information than successes and the issue is how this failure is communicated. The need for harmonization and coordination on restoration and REDD+ monitoring was also discussed. Local community involvement in carbon market measurement and accounting was also discussed.


Peter Besseau, Canada, Chair of GPFLR and UNFF12, moderated the session.

Eva Müller noted that partnerships are important but that coordination is equally important, noting the multiple commitments and initiatives on landscape restoration.

Highlighting the link between mainstreaming and partnerships, Catalina Santamaria, CBD, noted the importance of integrating different stakeholders’ perspectives and added that the CBD brings the voice of IPLCs to the CPF.

Evert Thomas, Bioversity International, highlighted the use of outcome mapping to identify and select partners according to objectives set.

Bethanie Walder, SER, observed that her organization is partnering on education, publishing, capacity building and provision of expert feedback on restoration.

Manuel Guariguata, highlighted collaboration with IUCN on the restoration agenda and activities in the context of the Bonn Challenge Barometer. He further discussed restoration work with ICRAF, in Amazonia on the forest farm interface aimed at removing policy and regulatory bottlenecks.

Cordula Epple, UNEP-WCMC, discussed activities related to the UN-REDD programme, including the development of social and environmental safeguards and work with national governments to bring stakeholders together as well as on a collaborative mapping approach. 

Steve Johnson, ITTO, explained that ITTO adopted guidelines for restoration of degraded tropical forests 13 years ago and that 30 projects had been implemented. He noted that now the projects were implemented by IPLCs and support includes species selection and nursery establishment.

Michael Kleine said IUFRO represents national research organizations and has a mandate to contribute to scientific knowledge and to policy, as well as to land and forest management and conservation work.

Mirjam Kuzee said IUCN mostly works through its members and often hears calls for two things: building in-country capacity, and help to coordinate responses to diverse initiatives and platforms.

Ulrich Apel noted many CPF members are GEF implementing agencies so it works to promote synergies. He expressed hope that the GEF-7 replenishment cycle would create a funding window for FLR.

The ensuing discussion addressed how individual researchers could become involved in the work of some of the organizations, and how to foster monitoring at local and other sub-national levels.

Participants then addressed the role of the private sector as innovators to address land degradation neutrality; and engaging with agricultural, agroforestry and other sectors.

Eva Müller presented a joint CPF Message on ‘Fostering Partnerships to Build Coherence and Support for Forest Landscape and Ecosystem Restoration.’ The Message renews the commitment of the 14 CPF agencies to the global restoration agenda through integrating policy advocacy, research, technical and financial assistance in its 2017-2020 workplan.


Negotiating blocs
Non-state coalitions