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Climate leaders to map out UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration

Climate, Indigenous and youth leaders, environmental activists and musicians will be among 700 delegates meeting to hash out vital restoration strategies at the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) in New York on Sept. 28, 2019 in preparation for the launch of the U.N. Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

U.N. Decade on Ecosystem Restoration
Climate leaders will map out U.N. Decade on Ecosystem Restoration at the Global Landscape Forum in New York

The decade will provide a framework for landscape conservation and restoration, a process critical for curbing global warming and meeting U.N. climate targets aimed at preventing post-industrial average temperatures from rising to 1.5 degrees Celsius or higher.

  • Global warming on land is happening faster than over oceans, averaging 1.53 degrees Celsius, according to new data on land and climate released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
  • The IPCC report stoked fears of potentially catastrophic, irreversible climate events. It built on a 2018 report, which projected a slim 12-year window in which to address the causes of global warming
  • Each year, about a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions are released as a result of deforestation or agriculture-related land degradation

While the average global temperature is key for U.N. climate targets, a much higher than average heating on land is projected to have profound effects on human systems.

“The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration can be a turning point in humanity’s relation with nature, and the GLF meeting in New York will set the scene to prepare this,” said Tim Christophersen, coordinator of the Decade at UN Environment, which jointly coordinates GLF with the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the World Bank. “We expect discussions to pave the way for actions to protect our terrestrial ecosystems, biodiversity and livelihoods.”

GLF New York will follow the U.N. Secretary General’s Climate Action Summit, which will be held on Sept. 23 during the city’s Climate Week in the lead up to the official launch of the U.N. Decade on Ecosystem Restoration on World Environment Day 2021.

“We first launched the Global Landscapes Forum six years ago, urging the international community across all sectors to recognise the value of investing in sound landscape management to protect forests and the environment,” said Robert Nasi, CIFOR director general.

“With the new UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, we’ll start to see these actions formalised. The public and political will are there, and the decade will offer a framework on which to implement worldwide change, serving as a bridge to move from concept to practical application,” he added.

Delegates will work to demarcate the two billion hectares of land and water ecosystems – a footprint the size of South America – that must be restored to achieve environmental equilibrium. Discussions will delve into a range of ecosystems, including rainforests, dry forests, boreal forests, mountains, wetlands, oceans, peatlands, drylands, croplands and pastoral rangelands.

Delegates include: Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, Indigenous hip hop artist and youth director at conservation group Earth Guardians; Rocky Dawuni, Afro-roots artist and UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador for Africa; Inger Andersen, Head of UN Environment; Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, chief executive of African Union Development Agency-NEPAD; Felix Finkbeiner, founder of Plant-for-the-Planet; Christiana Figueres, founding partner of Global Optimism; Theo de Jager, president of World Farmers’ Organisation; Mountain climbers and filmmakers Taylor Rees and Renan OzturkBill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org; Rebekah Moses, senior manager of impact strategy at Impossible Foods; Lina Pohl, former El Salvador minister of environment; Yannick Glemarec, executive director of Green Climate Fund, and more.

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