Bonn Challenge: Latin America and the Caribbean 2021

A seedling is ready for planing on a hillside as part of a restoration project. Photo: Oscar Rodriguez / GIZ El Salvador

In July, the "Bonn Challenge Latin America and the Caribbean 2021" meeting took place - this year for the first time as a viral format.

After the COVID-19 pandemic had prevented regional meetings in 2020, the Bonn Challenge meeting of Latin America and the Caribbean was held in a digital format this year. The sixth meeting took place from 28 to 30 July 2021 and was virtually hosted by Costa Rica. During the meeting, representatives from 16 countries reaffirmed their commitment to ecosystem restoration as a powerful nature-based solution, which addresses the nexus between climate, biodiversity and a blue-green recovery (see info box for further explanation). 

Valuable thematic inputs on finance, monitoring and upcoming international negotiations were provided by guest speakers from BMU, CCAD, IUCN, GEF, GCF, UNEP and the EU which has provided substantial funding for ecosystem restoration in the SICA region through the Green Development Fund (FDV). 

The regional meeting was also the first since the launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration in June 2021. The UN Decade, which was initiated in the region will run from 2021-2030 and aims to give new momentum to existing initiatives like the Bonn Challenge. 

Key factors for successful upscaling of ecosystem restoration

During the three-day meeting, participants actively discussed their experiences, progress made, and key factors for successful upscaling of ecosystem restoration. When elaborating on the topics of monitoring and finance, the need to develop innovative mechanisms to increase involvement of the private sector was especially emphasized. A focus was put on the importance of integrated and intersectoral approaches. 

These require close cooperation between different sectors and respective authorities, especially the environmental and agricultural sector. Furthermore, the integration of all stakeholders from all levels, including civil society, local governments, NGOs, indigenous people, academia and the private sector is necessary to ensure long-term cooperation and ownership. Integrated landscape approaches, such as Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) and Ridge to Reef (see info box for further explanation) enable the inclusion of different sectors, stakeholders and ecosystems while taking into account the different ecosystem services, land uses and values. 

Creating and using synergies

The next step will be the continued integration of the three initiatives: the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, which is closely linked to the three Rio conventions, the Bonn Challenge and the global movement for a Blue-Green Recovery. As healthy ecosystems are the foundation to create sustainable economic growth, ensure well-being and reach the Sustainable Development Goals, it will be key to create synergies to achieve the maximum positive impact.

The next important event for the Bonn Challenge and ecosystem restoration is the upcoming UNFCCC climate negotiations, which will be held in Glasgow, Scotland from 31 October to 12 November 2021. The 26th Conference of the Parties (CoP26) offers the opportunity to focus on nature-positive climate actions and nature-based solutions that create synergies between climate and biodiversity. 

IKI supports the implementation of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 

To continue the leadership role that Latin America and the Caribbean have taken in ecosystem restoration, the International Climate Initiative (IKI) supports and strengthens the on-the-ground implementation of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. The projects aim to increase the exchange of knowledge and experiences, strengthen capacities to scale-up restoration efforts and connect local implementers to the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021 to 2030). 

Background to the Bonn Challenge 

The Bonn Challenge is a voluntary international initiative launched in 2011 in a ministerial meeting organized by the Government of Germany and the IUCN, with support from the Global Alliance for Forest Landscape Restoration (GPFLR). The objective of the Bonn Challenge is to restore 350 million hectares of degraded and deforested land by the year 2030, under a Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) approach. 

Read more on the Bonn Challenge … 

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Further explanations

The concept of a blue-green recovery emphasizes that both, terrestrial (green) and ocean-related (blue) economic activities need to be considered in a sustainable Covid-19 recovery strategy.

Ridge to Reef is a holistic approach for protecting coastal areas by acknowledging that environmental processes on land and on sea are interconnected. It includes targeting environmental degradation in the uplands ("ridge") that impact coastal ecosystems through sedimentation, and restoring shorelines and protecting marine ecosystems ("reef").

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