10 principles designed to guide the United Nations Decade for Ecosystem Restoration
Faced with an alarming rate of landscape degradation globally, a coalition of global organizations launched key principles for ecosystem restoration on September 7 at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Marseille, France . The principles underpin the United Nations Decade for Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030), which aims to restore the health of degraded ecosystems in a way that benefits both people and nature.
“If we can’t stop the degradation, all of our restoration activities will be for naught,” said James Hallett, president of the Society for Ecological Restoration, in a panel discussion on restoration principles.
Two working groups, one focused on best practices led by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the other focused on science led by IUCN, developed 10 principles to guide the United Nations Decade and provide a common vision for ecosystem restoration activities. Importantly, these activities also help limit the rise in global temperatures under the Paris climate agreements and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Based on input from restoration experts, government officials, researchers, Indigenous groups and others, the principles center on an initial framework for global contribution. This principle emphasizes the need to ensure restoration on a cumulative and sustainable scale. The remaining nine principles emphasize a scientific approach that draws on local knowledge and the ideas of indigenous groups.
The 10 principles of ecosystem restoration are:
1.) Global contribution
2.) Broad engagement
3.) Many types of activities
4.) Benefits for nature and people
5.) Treat the causes of degradation
6.) Knowledge integration
7.) Measurable goals
8.) Local and terrestrial / marine contexts
9.) Monitoring and management
10.) Policy integration
“The principles of ecosystem restoration will be an essential tool to guide the implementation of the United Nations Decade and maximize the sustainable production of goods and services,” said Christophe Besacier, co-leader of the Working Group on the best Practices and Coordinator of Forest and Landscape Restoration Mechanism at FAO.
Over the next decade, countries pledged to restore 1 billion hectares, an amount of degraded land equivalent to the size of China. Meanwhile, 4.2 million hectares of primary tropical forests – an area the size of the Netherlands – were lost in 2020. Coastal communities, coral reefs, peatlands, mangroves and other landscapes fragile are also threatened as the climate continues to warm and severe weather conditions. becomes the norm. Landscape degradation threatens biodiversity, with around 1 million species threatened with extinction, as well as the well-being of billions of people.
Restoration principles are seen as a key element in reversing these landscape declines.
“These 10 principles meet two needs,” Andrea Romero Montoya, FAO consultant and working group facilitator, said in an email. “The first is the need for a shared vision of ecosystem restoration. The second is the need for principles underlying all restoration activities that are part of the ecosystem restoration continuum defined by the United Nations Decade, and that are applicable in all sectors, biomes and regions.
Next steps include defining criteria for good restoration practices, establishing best practices to guide practitioners, and translating the principles and standards into multiple languages. Engagement with local communities and indigenous groups will also be essential, as will funding for ecosystem restoration activities.
According to IUCN Congress panelist Luc Gnacadja, Chair of Governance and Policy for Sustainable Development (GPS-Dev), “It will take time to reap the benefits of ecosystem restoration while using a bottom-up approach. But we [now] have something to plan.
Developed by the Best Practices Working Group led by FAO, the Society for Ecological Restoration and the Commission for Ecosystem Management of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, in collaboration with CIFOR-ICRAF, Ecohealth Network, UN Environment and the World Wide Fund for Nature, The Principles of Ecosystem Restoration are the first step in an ongoing process as part of the launch of the United Nations Decade.