Ministers from Central and South America and high-level representatives from Africa and Asia, as well as from international organisations, are meeting in Panama City for two days as part of the Bonn Challenge Latin America. The event was opened on 26 August by Isabel Saint Malo de Alvarado, the Vice President of Panama and the German state secretary for environment Jochen Flasbarth.
The Bonn Challenge – established in 2011 – is the most important international initiative for forest restoration. The participating countries have set themselves the target of restoring 150 million hectares of deforested and degraded land by 2020. Through the restoration of forests, the Bonn Challenge creates new livelihoods for people, particularly in developing countries. The focus is on tropical and subtropical countries, which make up the most biodiverse regions in the world. The German Federal Environment Ministry is supporting its partner countries in implementing their plans through its International Climate Initiative (IKI).
The forests in Central America have an extremely high level of biodiversity. These areas, which cover less than one per cent of the global land surface, are home to more than eight per cent of the world’s plant and animal species. However, this unique habitat is under threat from deforestation, with around 280,000 hectares lost every year – equivalent to an area the size of Luxembourg.
The countries in Central and South America have made forest restoration in Latin America a joint political goal. Participants at this second regional conference in Panama will discuss ways of building technical and scientific capacities relating to REDD+ and how, within the context of sustainable development, these capacities can contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change. The conference will also provide an opportunity to share knowledge and experience on implementation strategies for protecting forests, including processes that could also be applied in Panama itself.
The event was organised by the Panamanian Ministry of the Environment with support from the IKI project REDD+ Landscape / CCAD.