SPECIAL COP20 – Latin American and the Caribbean countries commit to land restoration with Initiative 20×20

Seven Latin American and the Caribbean countries committed to restore more than 20 million hectares of degraded land by 2020. The project, named Initiative 20×20, is a new partnership between governments in Latin America and the Caribbean, World Resources Institute (WRI), International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Center for Tropical Agricultural Research and Education (CATIE), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and private sector investors. The initiative was disclosed on Sunday (December 7) at COP20 in Lima.

Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, and Peru , along with two regional programs – Bosques Modelo and Conservacion Patagonica, have agreed restore some of the pledged 20 million hectares to natural forests and some into a mix of trees, crops, and livestock. The project will support agroforestry, silvopastures, and other sustainable land use schemes to recover land functionality.

WRI, CIAT, CATIE, and IUCN are supporting Initiative 20×20 and helping to implement the participating countries’ ambitions through the development of monitoring systems, economic analysis of restoration opportunities, training, and sharing of experiences.

The three primary activities of Initiative 20×20 are to inspire national commitments to reforestation, assess the societal benefits from restoration and avoided deforestation, and establish a financial mechanism to allow private sector impact investors to fund restoration projects. WRI reports that private sector investors have already agreed to contribute US$365 to finance these restoration efforts.

Initiative 20×20 will support the Bonn Challenge on Forests, Climate Change and Biodiversity, a global commitment to restore 150 million hectares worldwide by 2020. Restoring degraded land can significantly reduce land-use related GHG emissions, as nearly half of all GHG emissions in Latin America and the Caribbean are the result of land-use change, forestry, or agriculture. Additional benefits of restoration include enhanced water and soil quality, which help boost food security, improve rural livelihoods, and protect biodiversity.


(Image: Initiative 20×20 map by World Resources Institute)