Over 6 million acres of forest landscape will be restored in Caucasus and Central Asia

On June 22, 2018, the First Ministerial Roundtable on Forest Landscape Restoration and the Bonn Challenge in the Caucasus and Central Asia adopted the Astana Resolution.

It commits the region to restore more than 2.5 million hectares of forest landscape. The commitment is in line with the Bonn Challenge, a global effort to restore 350 million hectares of degraded and deforested land by 2030.

Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Agriculture, the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Forestry and Timber Section of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) organized the roundtable, in cooperation with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and with the support of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU). The roundtable convened June 21 & 22, 2018 in Astana, Kazakhstan.

In the Astana Resolution, ministers and country representatives from Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan reaffirm their commitments to the Bonn Challenge global target of restoring 150 million hectares of deforested and degraded land by 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030 in accordance with national pledges from the Caucasus and Central Asia region.

Participants agree to, inter alia: identify degraded lands within their respective countries and work to restore and afforest them by 2030; assess the national potential for forest landscape restoration to enhance the voluntary regional target; and periodically assess their efforts through alignment with the Bonn Challenge Barometer of Progress in order to voluntarily monitor and report progress towards forest landscape restoration targets in the Caucasus and Central Asia.

Ministers and country representatives further agreed to: reinforce regional cooperation on forest landscape restoration through policy dialogues, forest policy development and joint programming; call on development partners, particularly UNECE, FAO and IUCN as well as international finance institutions and the private sector, to support efforts and investment in forest landscape restoration and facilitate access to external investment opportunities; and cooperate to develop a strategy for financing forest landscape restoration efforts and reinforce national capacities to better mobilize existing financial instruments.

National commitments under the Bonn Challenge will help to support a coherent policy framework for restoration efforts, including efforts to achieve SDG 15 (life on land) and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. During the roundtable, several participants highlighted how commitments to forest restoration support implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and further the work of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF).

UNECE Executive Secretary Olga Algayerova highlighted the importance of scaling-up efforts to restore forest landscapes to harness “the many important benefits that forests bring – to our ecosystems, economies and societies at large, as well as for strengthened climate action.” She underscored the role of country commitments and implementation in achieving the SDGs and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Photo of Almaty, Kazakhstan via Adobe Stock.

See IISD website, where this news was first published.

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