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Latin America and the Caribbean work towards carbon neutrality with landscape restoration
- Countries will work to make the region carbon neutral by 2050, using restoration as a key approach to benefit economies, people and landscapes.
June 19, 2019. Latin America and the Caribbean reinforced their commitment to restoring degraded lands, which are fundamental to consolidating sustained economic development with lower carbon emissions and higher agricultural productivity. Therefore, through the Initiative 20x20, 17 countries will work to align public policy and investment with the vision of restoring landscapes to a level capable of helping the region achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. According to the United Nations Environment Program, this level would be equivalent to around 250 million acres.
"The goal of Latin American and Caribbean countries to move towards carbon neutrality, while at the same time being able to offer sustainable products to meet the growing global demand for food and wood, could make a significant contribution to the planet," said Walter Vergara, coordinator of the Initiative 20x20 secretariat.
Vergara said the goal is ambitious but can be achieved through the intelligent use of technologies, innovation and science, while aligning policies and making appropriate investments in favor of landscapes.
The commitment stood, last June 18, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, after the Environment Ministers of the 17 countries signed a ministerial communique urging governments to take action for the conservation and restoration of forests.
This communique was signed within the framework of the Annual Meeting of Partners of the Initiative 20x20, which takes place from June 18 to the 19. CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center) as a founding partner of the initiative participates in this activity in which the partners have interacted and identified areas of common interest to collaborate and advance in the implementation of landscape restoration in Latin America.
CATIE, represented by its general director, Muhammad Ibrahim, and researchers from the institution's Forests, Biodiversity and Climate Change Program, including Róger Villalobos and Jean Pierre Morales, has shared its plans for the future, as well as the innovative projects it is developing on secondary forests and landscape restoration, in order to explore opportunities for greater collaboration.
The meeting is attended by 14 ministers and deputy ministers from Latin America and the Caribbean, representatives of 12 impact investment funds and 100 technical experts. This year the central theme of the meeting is private investment and public policies for restoration.
Relevant advances in landscape restoration
From the 2019 meeting, the following advances stand out:
- More than 500,000 acres are in the process of being restored by Conservación Patagónica and other partners in Argentina and Chile, with the aim of promoting sustainability and expanding natural areas, as in the case of the Iberá marshes in Argentina and the Chacabuco Valley in Chile.
- With the support from the Andean Amazon Fund, conservation of more than 6 million acre (almost the size of France) in the Andean Amazon, including the Sierra del Divisor in Peru and the Chiribiquete in Colombia.
- A Colombian initiative to create a restoration corridor of 9.2 million acres (slightly larger than the size of Germany and Spain combined) along with Brazil and Ecuador, to combat deforestation of the Amazon forest.
- In Brazil, an African palm oil substitution program (a key precursor to deforestation in that country) by Kaete Investmentos, Althelia Funds/INOCAS and supported by BID Invest.
- In Mexico, a program led by the National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR, its Spanish acronym) to reforest one million acres in addition to the nearly 7.5 million acres that are part of that country's target under the Bonn Commitment on restoration.
- A portfolio of 10 projects focused on agro-forestry for 6 countries by 12Tree, with a robust environmental and safeguards protocol, robust monitoring metrics and a commitment of more than $400 million dollars.
- The creation of the FOBOSQUE Trust Fund and the implementation of the National Restoration Plan in Argentina, with more than 40 projects underway in the 6 forest regions.
- The development of a National Restoration Program in Chile (host of COP25 this year) and similar efforts with different levels of progress in Argentina, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Uruguay and other countries.
- Various sustainable agro-forestry initiatives to produce cocoa, coffee, citrus and coconut with the potential to benefit thousands of rural communities.
The Initiative 20x20 was formed in 2014 during COP20 in Lima with the aim of transforming the landscape degradation dynamics of Latin America and the Caribbean, and contribute to restoring 20 million acre of land by 2020. The initiative's partners already have 104 projects and programmes on 14 million acres across the region (almost the size of France, Germany and Sweden combined), and have committed around USD 1 billion out of a total of USD 2 billion of the total investment earmarked by the financial partners.
Now that the goal of restoring 20 million hectares of land has been surpassed, the parties will work to make the region carbon neutral by 2050, using restoration as a key approach to benefit economies, people and landscapes.
More information/written by:
Karla Salazar Leiva
Information Technology and Communication