Commitment to global restoration of forests is paying off

Group photo: with State secretary Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter with Bonn Challenge - Ambassador Bianca Jagger (center) with representatives of the participating countries

State secretary Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter and Bonn Challenge - Ambassador Bianca Jagger (center) with representatives of the participating countries. Photo: BMUB/Klose

The Bonn Challenge, initiated by the German Government, is showing results. There are now pledges from 36 governments, organisations and companies to restore about 113 million hectares of degraded forests. At the weekend, the Government of Malawi and the Association of Guatemalan Private Natural Reserves announced their pledges for restoring 4 million hectares of forest. ‘The Bonn Challenge was launched by the German Government in 2011 to restore forests and it is starting to pay off. After only five years there are now pledges to restore over 100 million hectares of forest. That corresponds to an area three times the size of Germany,’ said Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter, Parliamentary State Secretary in the German Federal Environment Ministry (BMUB), during the IUCN World Conservation Congress, which is the largest nature protection conference in the world.

A growing group of committed countries have joined the Bonn Challenge, which is the most important international initiative for restoring forests. Countries such as Brazil, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Indonesia, Rwanda and South Korea are working with donor countries like Germany and Norway, as well as with committed companies and organisations, to restore 150 million hectares of deforested and degraded land by 2020 – in particular threatened forests in tropical and subtropical countries. The recently launched Bonn Challenge Barometer will in future support six pilot countries in implementing their national pledges.

Schwarzelühr-Sutter commented: ‘Only by restoring and protecting the remaining forests can we achieve the global climate targets. The Bonn Challenge is making a key contribution to this.’ To support these efforts, BMUB has so far assisted 25 forest restoration projects and provided nearly EUR 90 million through the International Climate Initiative (IKI). BMUB plans to provide an additional EUR 200 million in support through IKI by 2020.

The IUCN World Conservation Congress takes place every four years and is the largest conference of its kind. At the request of US President Barack Obama, the Congress this year is taking place from 1 to 10 September in Hawaii.

A detailed summary of the IUCN World Conservation Congress will be published next week on the IKI website.