In the Mediterranean, Forest and Land Restoration (FLR) is recognized as an effective option to achieve commitments under the Rio Conventions, the Agenda 2030, as well as the United Nations Forum on Forests. During the 5th Mediterranean Forest Week in 2017, countries adopted the Agadir Commitment: (i) to restore 8 million hectares of degraded forest landscape in the Mediterranean region by 2030, (ii) as well as to reinforce regional cooperation for FLR, (iii) to develop a diversified strategy to finance FLR efforts and (iv) to establish a voluntary monitoring and reporting system for FLR efforts.
The International Climate Initiative (IKI) is an initiative of the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) financing climate and biodiversity projects in developing and newly industrialising countries, as well as in countries in transition. IKI supports the conservation of natural carbon sinks with a focus on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) with a specific window on Forest and Landscape Restoration as one of its four priority areas.
Funded by IKI, the project “Scaling up forest and landscape restoration in order to restore biodiversity and promote joint mitigation and adaptation approaches in the Mediterranean” supports reaching these objectives and aims at strengthening regional and national capacity for the implementation of large scale FLR programmes in the Mediterranean region, as a key option to achieve the National Determined Contributions (NDCs) that governments have submitted in the context of the Paris Agreement. This project is part of a wider, global project called “The Paris Agreement in Action: upscaling forest and landscape restoration to achieve nationally determined contributions”, that includes countries in Africa, the Pacific Islands and the Mediterranean.
The implementation of these FLR programmes will contribute to restoration of ecosystems, adaptation to climate change and preservation of biodiversity. At the same time, it will help to improve livelihoods through enhanced ecosystem service delivery and provision of sustainable economic alternatives, especially in rural areas.
The project, implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), was labelled by the 43 countries of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) in 2018, in line with the key priorities of the 2014 UfM Ministerial Declaration on Environment and Climate Change (https://ufmsecretariat.org/). It involves multiple partners in the region and foresees, from its very inception, a potential upscaling to other Mediterranean countries.
The project started in January 2019 and will run over a four year period. It includes a regional and a national component.