UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration

What is the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration?

Following an invitation from the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, on March 1, 2019, The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), together with over 70 countries led by El Salvador, adopted Resolution 73/284 proclaiming 2021–2030 as the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) lead its implementation in collaboration with the Secretariats of the Rio conventions and other partners.

The goal of the UN Decade is to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems worldwide. All ecosystem types are included in this goal: forests, grasslands, croplands, wetlands, savannahs, other terrestrial and inland water ecosystems, marine and coastal ecosystems and urban environments. The UN Decade is building a strong global movement to ramp up restoration and put the world on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals using the #GenerationRestoration.

Mangrove restoration in Thailand

Ecosystem restoration under the Decade is defined as a process of reversing the degradation of ecosystems to regain their ecological functionality; in other words, to improve the productivity and capacity of ecosystems to meet the needs of society. Examples include enhancing organic carbon in agricultural soils, increasing fish stocks in overfished zones, remediating polluted sites, restoring ecological processes, restoring biodiversity and conserving fauna and flora that can assist in the restoration process. The scale of these activities can range from a few hundred metres to thousands of kilometres, depending on the actors and ecosystems involved.

The UN Decade provides a hub for everyone interested in restoration to find projects, partners, information on funding and the knowledge they need to make their restoration efforts a success. This UN Decade will inspire and support governments, UN agencies, NGOs, civil society, children and youth, private sector companies, indigenous peoples, farmers, women’s groups, local communities and individuals globally to collaborate and develop the appropriate skillsets for catalysing and successfully implementing restoration initiatives across the world.

Planning forest restoration to improve water quality in a former plantation in Colombia

The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and the CBD’s Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework

The fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention (COP 15) will be held in Kunming, China. Parties to the Convention and its Protocols will adopt the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, which will include goals, targets and policy directions for our global society and will lead the way to achieving the CBD 2050 Vision of “Living in Harmony with Nature”.

Ecosystem restoration is essential to achieve the 2050 Vision and reverse the trend of biodiversity decline. In fact, according to the IPBES thematic Assessment of Land Degradation and Restoration, restoring 15% of converted lands in the right places could prevent 60% of projected species extinctions. UN Member States have committed to building synergies between existing ecosystem conservation and restoration commitments and initiatives, like the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, and the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. The UN Decade will help build a global movement to accelerate progress on goals in the framework related to restoration.

Planning forest restoration to improve water quality in a former plantation in Colombia

Ecosystem restoration activities generate benefits not only for biodiversity conservation, but also for climate change mitigation, land degradation neutrality and food security, among other goals. For example, reducing deforestation, restoring ecosystems, and implementing agricultural practices that build soil organic matter could contribute more than a third of the total efforts needed by 2030 to keep global warming well below 2 degrees. In addition, restoration through agroforestry alone has the potential to increase food security for 1.3 billion people. Restoration of forests and other watershed ecosystems could save water utilities in the world’s largest cities $890 million each year in water treatment costs. Thanks to the multiple benefits of ecosystem restoration activities, The UN Decade will also build on other existing conventions, including our sister Rio conventions and the Sustainable Development Goals. The CBD works closely with its sister conventions on the linkages between biodiversity, climate change and land degradation and this enhanced cooperation among the Rio conventions will help further these synergies and maximize the benefits of restoration activities towards achieving our common goals.

Past Events

Click here to watch a recording of the event.

About the Event
The event was organised at the launch of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. It aimed to build high-level political momentum and raise ambition for ecosystem restoration in the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

Speakers

  • H.E. Ms. Yasmine Fouad, Minister of Environment of Egypt, President of CBD COP 14

  • H.E. Mr. Huang Runqiu, Minister of Ecology and Environment of the People’s Republic of China, Host Government of CBD COP 15

  • Ms. Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity

  • H.E. Mr. Choi Byeong-Am, Minister of the Korea Forest Service

  • Bernardo Strassburg, Executive Director, International Institute for Sustainability (IIS), Rio de Janeiro