UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration strategy open for feedback
Over a year ago, on 1 March 2019, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2021-2030 as the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. The decade was declared to highlight the need for global ecosystem restoration in the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss and to safeguard food security and water supply.
They key idea behind this focus on global cooperation for ecosystem restoration, is that this will lead to (inter)national actions to restore ecosystem functioning and thereby vital ecosystem services such as food, freshwater, disease prevention, climate regulation, and spiritual and educational needs. Restoring these ecosystems, in turn, builds resilience, reduces vulnerability and increases the ability of ecosystems to cope with environmental change and extreme events. Furthermore, it will hopefully accelerate progress towards the already existing restoration goals such as the Bonn Challenge (restoring 350 million hectares of degraded ecosystems by 2030) and several Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the new post-2020 global biodiversity targets.
Humans have greatly affected the capacity of ecosystems to provide these ecosystem services. Climate change, deforestation, changes in land use and management, overexploitation, are all examples of how human activities have resulted in the degradation of ecosystems. This degradation has already led to undermining the well-being of 3.2 billion people and costing around 10% of the annual global gross product (Sutton et al., 2016), and with crucial biodiversity being in rapid decline, these numbers will likely increase. Ecosystem restoration, however, seeks to repair this damage. It is defined as “the process of assisting the recovery of an ecosystem that has been degraded, damaged or destroyed” (SER, 2004). In other words, it aims to restore the ecological functionality of ecosystems and thereby also improve their capacity to meet the needs of society.
After several rounds of consultations and interviews, a first draft of the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration has been published online.
“The Strategy is the primary document setting up the structure of the Decade, including its objectives and activities. The first draft of the Strategy is developed through an elaborated consultation process, which included more than 50 interviews with over 100 interviewees from a range of backgrounds as well as consultations with youth groups in more than 19 countries. “decadeonrestoration.org
This draft strategy is now open for review and feedback until 30 April, 2020.