The first Restoration Barometer report documenting that investments of $26 billion across 18 countries, which have brought 14 million hectares of degraded landscapes – an area about the size of Greece – under restoration, had been released by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The report provides information on how 18 countries are using the Restoration Barometer tool to monitor their commitments to restore 48 million hectares of land by 2030 under international agreements.
The 18 countries included in the report are Latin America: Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, and Peru; Africa: Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, and Uganda; Asia: Bangladesh and Sri Lanka; and Europe, Central Asia, and the Caucasus: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.
It demonstrates that 14 million hectares of land are currently undergoing restoration thanks to cumulative investments of $26 billion from public and private sources. It also highlights the various conservation and sustainable development benefits of these restoration efforts.
Detailed case studies in the report – e.g., on Mozambique’s National Mangrove Strategy; satellite use in Guatemala; and endangered species protection in Mexico – also reveal that through restoration efforts in these 18 countries, 12 million jobs were created and over 145 million tonnes of carbon were sequestered in 2022.
Endorsed by over 50 governments, the Restoration Barometer was developed by IUCN with the support of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection. It is the only tool that is already being used by governments to track restoration and its benefits across all terrestrial ecosystems, including coastal and inland waters, and report on their commitments against global frameworks such as the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, Bonn Challenge, Paris Agreement or 1t.org.
It will also allow countries to track progress against restoration commitments under the forthcoming post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework targets leaders will set at COP15.
“As countries commit to ecosystem restoration, like Canada did today through its ambitious Bonn Challenge pledge, the Restoration Barometer tool enables them to build a comprehensive picture of their progress, helping them to identify what is working, where and how, which leads to more impactful action and better targeted investments,” said Carole Saint-Laurent, head of the IUCN’s Forests and Grasslands Team.
“This means restoration efforts can not only be maximised but fully sustained during this critical decade to save our natural world,” she added.
Using the Restoration Barometer tool, countries record their restoration policies, modes of planning, monitoring systems and funding structures that make their efforts possible and ensure they will continue. They can then track the sizes of the areas under restoration, plus the corresponding climate, biodiversity and socio-economic benefits that result from the restoration programmes being implemented.
Next year, the Barometer will be further extended to include restoration efforts in kelp, seagrasses and shallow reefs, allowing users to report from ridge to reef. Looking ahead, the Restoration Barometer will also be made available for use by companies seeking to set and track restoration targets; 34 companies are currently piloting the tool in collaboration with the World Economic Forum and 1t.org.
Next year, this new application will go live on the Restoration Barometer website, opening up opportunities for the private sector to transparently monitor company-wide restoration commitments.
Anita Diederichsen, WWF lead for Forest Landscape Restoration, said “it is encouraging to see progress made by countries in their landscape restoration targets, as outlined in the 2022 Restoration Barometer report.”
The report contains essential information that will be instrumental in enhancing transparency and accountability. And it goes beyond hectares to demonstrate the impact of restoration on people and the climate, a key component of the global agenda for restoration, she explained.
“At WWF, we see the Restoration Barometer as an important tool to gauge progress on the Bonn Challenge and to support our own implementation actions in the many countries we operate in,” she said.
The Restoration Barometer was first launched in 2016 as the Bonn Challenge Barometer. It was piloted in forest landscapes – including in Brazil, Rwanda, El Salvador, Mexico and the United States – to measure the success of restoration programmes and understand the hurdles to implementation and quantification of restoration benefits.
Subsequently, the tool was applied by 22 countries. It has been endorsed by more than 50 countries.
In 2020, the Bonn Challenge Barometer was rebranded as the Restoration Barometer to reflect its core principles of flexibility and inclusivity, and to signify the extension of the Barometer beyond forest ecosystems. The new tool was piloted in 22 countries, and in 2021 it was expanded to include tracking across all terrestrial ecosystem types, including coastal and inland waters.
Though 22 countries submitted data to the Restoration Barometer in 2022, this report includes information from 18 of them as data from the remaining countries is still undergoing review by IUCN. All data submitted to the Barometer is validated by governments and reviewed by IUCN. A tier system is used across some indicators to ensure data integrity and reporting accuracy. Full submitted data from the Restoration Barometer is available for public access through the country dashboard.