Initiative 20x20 backed by ministers

Podium at the annual meeting of the 20x20 Initiative; Photo: Natasha Ferrari/WIR

Podium at the annual meeting of the 20x20 Initiative; Photo: Natasha Ferrari/WIR

At the end of April 2018, eight ministers from the governments of seven Latin American and Caribbean countries released a ministerial announcement encouraging multilateral climate funds to direct more finance towards restoring and conserving forests and landscapes across the region. The call was issued during the annual meeting of Initiative 20x20, which aims to restore 20 million hectares of degraded land in Latin America and the Caribbean region by 2020 and is thus helping to address the Bonn Challenge.

Globally, only 2 per cent (3 billion) of 141 billion US dollars of public climate finance in 2016 was dedicated to land use – but even less was earmarked for restoration. However, research shows that conservation and restoration could deliver 60 per cent of the emissions reductions needed to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 in Latin America and the Caribbean. 

The ministers’ announcement encourages climate funds to focus on restoration to help overcome barriers to private investment, including project support, availability of working capital, and management of investment risks. The ministers also suggest that multilateral banks should emphasise support of national restoration programmes in the region and help strengthen public-private partnerships.

‘The long-term sustainability of restoration efforts in Latin America depends on the ability to attract private investment,’ said Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation of Peru, Gustavo Mostajo. ‘A strong participation of global climate funding can accelerate this process.’

Forest in Peru; Photo: Michael Hüttner/PB IKI

The Initiative 20x20 is a regional partnership to restore and protect degraded land across Latin America and the Caribbean. With the World Resources Institute (WRI) leading the secretariat of the initiative, it receives support from the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Environment Ministry (BMU). The partnership brings together 17 countries with dozens of technical and financial partners. To date, the participating governments have committed to restore and protect 50 million hectares of degraded land, with around 10 million hectares of land already being conserved and restored.

‘Restoration is not just a financially attractive mitigation measure but may also bring substantial co-benefits including rural welfare, soil and water conservation, biodiversity protection and climate resilience,’ said Walter Vergara, Regional Coordinator of Initiative 20x20 and Senior Fellow at WRI.

To date, 21 private partners, from companies to impact investors, have earmarked 2.1 billion US dollars of investment and more than 40 Initiative 20x20 projects are under way on topics including agroforestry, silvopasture, sustainably managed pasturelands and avoided degradation and deforestation, but much more capital is needed in order to restore all 50 million hectares.