MMFN pledges to support Bonn Challenge

Mediterranean Forest Week Opening24 April, 2017 - Participants at Mediterranean Forest Week (March 2017), including participants from the Mediterranean Model Forest Network & the International Model Forest Network, added their names to the Agadir Commitment to Improve Forest and Landscape Restoration (FLR), Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) and biodiversity conservation efforts in the Mediterranean region.

The Fifth Mediterranean Forest Week (MFW), held from March 20 – 24, in Agadir Morocco, provided an exceptionally valuable week of exploration around the current practice and potential of forest and landscape restoration in the Mediterranean region.

The week of technical sessions, information sharing and networking helped shape understanding of the nature of the opportunity ahead and very much contributed to one of the key outcomes of the week: The “Agadir Commitment”.

The Bonn Challenge is a global effort to restore 150 million hectares of the world's degraded and deforested lands by 2020 and 350 million ha by 2030.

Approved at the concluding, high-level session, the Agadir Commitment gives shape to the opportunity, pledging over 2 million hectares to the Bonn Challenge by 2020 and nearly 6 million hectares by 2030 through stand-alone commitments by countries and regions involving considerable collaboration and cooperation.

The Mediterranean Model Forest Network (MMFN) , was part of the Organizing Committee for MFW and with representatives from six Model Forests present, was active throughout the week. At the High-Level Segment the MMFN committed it would survey members to confirm a first Mediterranean Model Forest Pledge to the Agadir Commitment that foresees the restoration of more than 27000 hectares through to 2030.

It also invited regional partners and colleagues to explore the Model Forest approach to landscape governance, one of the key features of successful FLR.

By many measures “pledging” is the easy part of a task – the tougher part is the “doing”. In this regard, there is reason to be very optimistic about the future success of this commitment: the Mediterranean region is well-networked, with multiple communities of practice, research and collaboration; it has significant amounts of data and understanding of the region’s environment and its dynamics; the problems around FLR, as is the case for climate change and desertification are held in common and therefore are good candidates for collaborative problem solving; and there is a strong institutional presence among such as FAO, with a track record of on-the-ground problem solving.

Last, but not least, many restoration initiatives are already underway - there is both expertise and capacity to scale up and out on FLR in the region. There are exciting years ahead under the umbrella of the Agadir Commitment. We look forward to seeing the MMFN being part of its success.

FAO Communique

The fifth Mediterranean Forest Week, held in Agadir, Morocco, culminated on March 24, 2017 with a commitment endorsed by nine countries - Algeria, France, Iran, Lebanon, Morocco, Portugal, Spain, Tunisia, and Turkey – and strongly supported by several international organizations - CBD Secretariat, FAO, IUCN, WRI, GPFLR, World Bank, Global Mechanism, Union for the Mediterranean, Plan Bleu, EFIMED, MMFN, CTFC- to improve Forest and Landscape Restoration (FLR), Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) and biodiversity conservation efforts in the Mediterranean region. This Agadir Commitment proposes to establish a new Regional Mediterranean Initiative on Forest and Landscape Restoration (FLR) to support the achievement of the Bonn Challenge and Sustainable Development Goal 15 (SDG15). This Regional Mediterranean Initiative also encourages political and administrative authorities at the national level, as well as stakeholders involved in the management of Mediterranean forest ecosystems and other wooded lands, to strengthen their respective Forest and Landscape Restoration (FLR) efforts in the context of the United Nations Strategic Plan for Forests 2017-2030 of the United Nations Forum for Forests (UNFF) and in line with the global Forest and Landscape Restoration (FLR) objectives of the Rio Conventions and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

This Regional Mediterranean Initiative, which aims to restore at least 8 million hectares by 2030, is focused on the four main components:

  • Assess the ongoing national efforts on Forest and Landscape Restoration (FLR)
  • Reinforce regional cooperation on Forest and Landscape Restoration and Land Degradation Neutrality.
  • Cooperate, among interested partners, to develop a consensual and diversified strategy for the financing of FLR efforts and reinforce national capacities.
  • Assess our respective efforts through the establishment of a voluntary monitoring and notification system for FLR and LDN efforts in the Mediterranean context.

PalenciaMFWParallel to the MFW, the MMFN held its annual Assembly, where the 6 attending Model Forests and national/regional authorities recognized the developing Palencia Model Forest in Spain as a candidate member.

The Assembly also discussed means for efficient communication and enhanced participation of members in network activities, agreed to reactivate its process for the renewal of governmental parties’ formal support and held an in-depth discussion on the meaning of forest landscape restoration in different Mediterranean contexts.

Pictured: Peter Besseau (IMFN), Alvaro Picardo (Junta de Castillo y Leon), Ana San Millán (Concejala en el Ayuntamiento de Herrera de Pisuerga). Photo, courtesy: Réseau des Communicateurs Forestiers Méditerranéens.