Thursday, October 16, 2014

Korea launches forest initiative to help countries achieve global biodiversity goals

Montreal/Pyeongchang, 16 October 2014 – To assist countries in achieving the globally-agreed Aichi Biodiversity Targets, the Korea Forest Service launched the Forest Ecosystem Restoration Initiative (FERI) on 14 October 2014, in the margins of the twelfth meeting of the
Conference of the Parties (COP 12) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), being held in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea, from 6 to 17 October 2014.

The Forest Ecosystem Restoration Initiative will provide support to Parties towards achieving Aichi Biodiversity Targets 5, 11, 14 and 15 by maximizing restoration efforts through knowledge-sharing and implementation and technical support.

“I commend the Republic of Korea for its impressive large-scale forest ecosystem restoration success, which incorporated a social campaign to mobilize communities in the effort,” said Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity. “Through the FERI, this expertise can be shared at the global level to help other countries to achieve Aichi Biodiversity Target 15 and related targets.”

The Republic of Korea, which plans to contribute USD6 million through the FERI to support restoration efforts, and will further its contribution depending on an assessment of project implementation, has substantial practical experience in forest restoration. Much of its territory was restored, with international support, from near-devastation forty years ago to today’s remarkable 64% forest cover. The FERI can therefore be thought of as a collaborative partnership which shares this experience in forest ecosystem restoration, recalling the support that the Republic of Korea received. The FERI draws upon the complementary strengths and advantages of each of its partners.

Envisaged to be a six-year initiative, the FERI would be a mechanism for assisting Parties to: Assess the potential costs and benefits of restoration; identify and assess areas with ecosystem and forest degradation; identify areas with high potential for forest and ecosystem restoration; implement appropriate restoration activities; and, manage the complex dynamics inherent in forest and ecosystem restoration.

The FERI would directly support developing country Parties as they operationalize national targets and plans for ecosystem conservation and restoration within the framework of Aichi Biodiversity Targets 5, 11 and 15. These targets should emanate from or be integrated into updated National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans and mainstreamed into broader national policies, plans and programmes.

The FERI takes up the torch lit at COP 11 in Hyderabad in 2012. The Hyderabad Call for a Concerted Effort on Ecosystem Restoration, made on the margins of COP 11 by concerned stakeholders, called for coordinated long-term efforts to mobilize resources and facilitate ecosystem restoration activities for the benefit of all. As one of the concerned stakeholders, the Republic of Korea, through the Korea Forest Service, launched the FERI which connects this earlier work, drawing attention to the importance of forest conservation and restoration in the context of sustainable development. The FERI can also support action within the Bonn Challenge, a global movement on restoration. The Bonn Challenge is a global aspiration to restore 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested lands by 2020.

The launch, co-hosted by the CBD Secretariat and moderated by the former Minister of the Environment and Energy of Costa Rica, Carlos Manuel Rodriguez (currently with Conservation International), received wide-spread support from countries across the globe, including high-level representatives from Uganda, Zambia, Indonesia, Dominican Republic, Bhutan, Guatemala and Germany, as well as representatives from agencies, including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, which indicated their interest to pair with the KFS in implementing the FERI, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the
Ramsar Convention, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), IUCN, the  International Union for Conservation of Nature, the United Nations Environment Programme's World Conservation Monitoring Centre, Biodiversity International and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF).

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