Call to restore 150 million hectares of forest
Enlarge image Member of the board of the WRI Göran Persson, president of the IUCN Ashok Khosla and Federal Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen in Bonn (© Ute Grabowsky / photothek ) On the invitation of Federal Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen and the president of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Ashok Khosla, ministers and high-level representatives of industry and civil society attended the conference "Bonn Challenge on forests, climate change and biodiversity" on September 2, 2011 to discuss the global restoration of forests. The conference set itself the goal of restoring 150 million hectares of lost and degraded forests by 2020 with globally concerted action.
The conference was prompted by the ongoing worldwide destruction of forests and the negative impacts this has: the rapid loss of biological diversity and vital ecosystem services, and alarming levels of greenhouse gas emissions. Worldwide, nearly 13 million hectares of forest are lost each year. Federal Environment Minister Röttgen: "We can no longer simply accept this massive loss of forests. We must make every conceivable effort to preserve remaining forests, and at the same time start restoring forests that have been destroyed. We need healthy ecosystems – they are an essential foundation of our lives."
For the first time, the Bonn Challenge links the decisions on forests made under the Framework Convention on Climate Change with those of the Convention on Biological Diversity, which adopted the goal of restoring 15 percent of destroyed or degraded ecosystems by 2020. The participants of the Bonn Challenge plan to contribute towards this aim and gain other supporters over the coming months. At the conference, former Swedish prime minister and member of the board of the World Resources Institute (WRI), Göran Persson, announced the establishment of the Restoration Council, aimed at supporting the restoration of forests at the highest political level. A number of internationally active companies also want to contribute to the restoration of forest ecosystems. Airbus Industries, for instance, will launch a global advertising campaign on the issue. The German business organisation Senat der Wirtschaft has developed the Welt Wald Klima Initiative (World Forest Foundation), enabling German companies to invest in forest restoration.