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UN Biodiversity Conference: The Pioneering Initiatives restoring The Natural World

On 13th December 2022, The UN Biodiversity Conference ie. COP 15 took place in Montreal, Canada. In this special virtual event, discussing certain initiatives and programs for world restoration and reversing the degradation, various famous personalities such as singer Ellie Goulding, UK Band Bastille, UNEP Executive Director Inger Anderson, Edward Norton, Dr. Jane Goodall participated to contribute their share in world betterment.


In this event various alternatives and initiatives were discussed, known as world restoration flagship and are eligible to be backed by UNEP for funding, aid and advice in future. These intivats made it to the global movement of United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, by UNEP and FAO in order to avoid and reverse the devastating effects of degradation of natural spaces and the planet. It is estimated that these initiatives will not only restore 68 millions hectares but create 15 minions of jobs. The UN decade selected and embodies 10 restoration principles for world restoration flagships.


UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen stated in the conference : “Transforming our relationship with nature is the key to reversing the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste. These 10 inaugural World Restoration Flagships show that with political will, science, and collaboration across borders, we can achieve the goals of the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration and forge a more sustainable future not only for the planet but also for those of us who call it home.”


Let's discuss these flagships in detail:


Trinational Atlantic Forest Pact

South America's Atlantic Forest (UN Environment Programme)

Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina share a large Atlantic forest built over decades but currently it is in a bad shape due to agricultural extensions, city building and many more. Decades long efforts by institutions to restore and prevent further destruction lead to creation of wildlife corridors for endangered species and other animals. About 7 lakh hectares have been resorted with the aim of 1 lakh and 15 lakh hectares by 2030 and 2050 respectively together with the initiatives of UNEP and many other organizations globally.


Abu Dhabi Marine Restoration

The drive focuses on safety and protection of the world's second largest population dugong besides improving the conditions and status of various other plant species and more. It non only benefits the turtles and dolphins that are going to be protected but it also supports and helps local communities by revival of tourism and fish revival programs. The 2030 goal is to completed restoration of 1200 hectares of coastal region.


Great Green Wall for Restoration and Peace

This initiatives focus on protection restoration and betterment of African farmlands, savannas and grasslands to support and help communities and the nature deal with climatic catastrophe taking place. It aims to create a belt of green productive landscapes across 11 countries and transformation of life as well. The 2030 goal is to seclude 250 millions tons carbon, restoring 100 millions hectares of land while creation of more than 10 minions of jobs throughout the continent.


Ganges River Rejuvenation

A huge initiative to reduce pollution, restore forest cover, and deliver other advantages to 520 million Ganges basin residents has paid off. Due to climate change, population growth, industrialization, and irrigation, the 2,525-kilometer Ganges has suffered.


Since 2014, the government-led Namami Gange programme has restored, protected, reforested, and promoted sustainable agriculture along the Ganges and its tributaries. It also aims to restore hilsa shad, softshell turtles, river dolphins, and otters.

Indian government investment totals $4.25 billion.


Multi-Country Mountain Initiative

Mountainous areas are riskier. Melting glaciers and soil degradation are forcing animals up mountains, where many die. Plains agricultural and population centres face less reliable mountain water supply.


Serbia, Kyrgyzstan, Uganda, and Rwanda's restoration efforts boost alpine ecosystems, safeguard rare species, and improve quality of life.


Only Uganda and Rwanda have mountain gorillas. 30 years of environmental preservation have increased gorilla numbers. Kyrgyz herders manage meadows to feed cattle and Asiatic ibex. Snow leopards are returning to two Serbian protected areas with more trees and meadows. The ecosystem's regeneration depends on species like the brown bear repopulating fire-ravaged areas.


Small Island Developing States Restoration Drive

Small Island Developing States: Building resilience for sustainable trade, tourism and development (UNEP)

This flagship is scaling up ridge-to-reef restoration of unique ecosystems and accessing blue economic growth to help island populations recover from the COVID-19 pandemic in Vanuatu, St. Lucia, and Comoros.


To replenish fish stocks, coral reefs, which are prone to storms, must be depressurised. Seagrass, mangroves, and woods are being restored.


This programme aims to raise the voices of island nations confronting rising sea levels and intensifying storms due to climate change while establishing a "toolbox" for sustainable island development.


Altyn Dala Conservation Initiative

Overgrazing, conversion to arable land, and climate change are destroying the Central Asian steppes and other grasslands worldwide.


The Altyn Dala Conservation Initiative in Kazakhstan has been restoring steppe, semi-desert, and desert ecosystems in the Saiga's historic range since 2005. Poaching and habitat destruction have left the antelope critically endangered.


Saiga numbers dropped to 50,000 in 2006 before rising to 1.3 million in 2022. The programme has revitalized and protected the steppe and conserved wetlands, where 10 million migratory birds halt. The Siberian crane, red-breasted goose, white-headed duck, and lapwing are popular bird species.


Central American Dry Corridor

Heatwaves and erratic precipitation put Central American Dry Corridor ecosystems and people at risk from climate change. Due to the drought, 1.2 million people needed food assistance in 2019.


This flagship restoration initiative in six countries—Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama—uses proven agricultural practises to increase landscape productivity and biodiversity.


Agroforestry systems that mix tree cover with crops like coffee, cocoa, and cardamom can boost soil fertility and water availability while preserving much of the tropical forest's biodiversity. By 2030, 100,000 acres must be reforested and 5,000 permanent employment established.


Building with Nature in Indonesia

Mangrove removal for aquaculture ponds, land subsidence, and infrastructure have caused erosion, flooding, and land loss in Demak, a low-lying coastal town on Java, Indonesia's largest island.


This inventive World Restoration Flagship has created fence-like structures along the shore to manage waves and trap silt, allowing mangroves to recover organically. Mangroves and permeable constructions cover 199 acres.


Farmers taught sustainable shrimp farming for mangrove restoration. Mangroves house a variety of marine organisms, increasing near-shore catches.


Shan-Shui Initiative in China

This vast effort encompasses the most populous country from mountaintops to coastal estuaries. A deliberate revitalization approach launched this endeavor in 2016. The landscape or watershed-scale projects are coordinated with national spatial planning, include urban, rural, and natural ecosystems, and aim to boost a wide range of local economic sectors. All have biodiversity goals.


The Oujiang River Headwaters Project in Zhejiang province uses current agricultural techniques to terrace steep hillsides and diversify crop production by growing fish and ducks.


By 2030, the Sustainable Development Goals must be achieved. If terrestrial and marine ecosystem deterioration continues, one million species may die off. To improve habitats and lower extinction rates by 60%, experts recommend restoring 15% of crucial areas' ecosystems.

The UN Decade addresses all three Rio Conventions and encourages partners to incorporate climate forecasts and a changed environment into their restoration efforts.


Ecosystem restoration has never been more vital. Ecosystems sustain all life. Ecosystem health improves Earth and its inhabitants. Ecosystem restoration globally requires everyone to join #GenerationRestoration to stop, prevent, and reverse ecological decline.


Sources:

UNEP Website

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