How to raise the ambitions for forest landscape restoration in Asia?

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Governor of South Sumatra, Pak Alex Noerdin (holding the sign), has just planted a tree in the demonstration plot for restoration of burnt peatland in the Ogan Komering Ilir District.

That was the question to the participants when Indonesia invited to the first Bonn Challenge Asia Regional High-Level Roundtable.

9-10 May, Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry and the Governor of South Sumatra invited to the roundtable in cooperation with the Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Global effort to restore deforested and degraded land

The Bonn Challenge is a global effort to bring 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded land into restoration by 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030. The aim is to restore ecological integrity and at the same time improve human well-being through multifunctional landscapes.

On the first day of the event, South Sumatra Governor, Pak Alex Noerdin, invited the participants to a demonstration plot where the province is working to restore 20 hectares of burnt peatland.

The participants were invited to plant one tree each, selected by the Palembang Environment and Forestry Research and Development Centre. The plan for the demonstration plot is to grow, at minimum, 80 local tree varieties.

Governments commit to the 150 million hectares target

During the second day of the meeting, Pakistan, Mongolia, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka made pledges to the Bonn Challenge. With those announcements, 44 governments, private associations and companies have pledged over 150 million hectares to be restored by 2020 as part of the Bonn Challenge.

Mr. Jochen Flasbarth, State Secretary in Germany’s Federal Ministry for the Environment, announced that Germany will support the global efforts for forest and land restoration with an additional 80 million Euros up to 2020, bringing Germany’s support up to a total of 200 million Euros.

Forests must be protected to avoid an increased need for restoration

In her opening speech, Ms. Hilde Solbakken, Chargé d’affaires a.i. of the Norwegian Embassy in Jakarta, praised nature’s own “extremely sophisticated carbon capture machines” – the trees.

She also reminded the participants that, in addition to implementing the restoration targets, we all have to do more to avoid more forested areas ending up in a state where restoration is needed.

Read the full speech for the opening of the Bonn Challenge Asia High-level Roundtable