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UNEP: UN to honour most promising initiatives to restore nature


The UN has published a call for countries to nominate World Restoration Flagships to honour the most ambitious and impactful global initiatives to rebuild degraded ecosystems. Governments are invited to present their most inspiring efforts by 31 March 2022. More than 80 expressions of interest have already been registered and the first 10 World Restoration Flagships will be celebrated on the margins of the UN General Assembly in September 2022.

Over 75% of Earth’s lands and 66% of oceans are currently severely altered by human activity. A recent report found that as part of international climate and biodiversity goals, countries have promised to restore one billion hectares of ecosystems – an area larger than China.

The partnership of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, co-led by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), is announcing the final stage of submissions of World Restoration Flagships to raise the profile and celebrate restoration efforts worldwide.

Benefits to the top ten selected countries include global recognition and profiling of projects:

Eligibility for funding through the Multi-Partner Trust Fund of the UN Decade (for countries/territories eligible to receive official development assistance).
UN-backed multimedia documentary production and national media campaigns;
Measuring restoration efforts through the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration;
“The details of degradation are painfully visible: across oceans, wetlands, forests, mountains, cities and other ecosystems. We must now be able to envision how nature will be repaired,” said Tim Christopherson, focal point for the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. “After one billion hectares have been committed for ecosystem restoration, it is time to move from commitments to action.”

The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration will spotlight initiatives across regions, sectors and ecosystems to call for higher political ambition, financing, and action for nature, with the aim to chronicle promising stories, monitor their progress, and inspire further action in the restoration movement.

In a joint video message, three internationally renowned athletes are calling for action for nature in the face of a global biodiversity crisis:

“While human ambition knows no boundaries, our planet does,” said mountaineer Nirmal ‘Nimsdai’ Purja, who made history by climbing all the planet’s summits over 8,000 meters in only six months, documented in the Netflix production 14 Peaks.
“I used to worry about my body and my disability. Working towards a goal in swimming has given me a lot of confidence. And I think it is the same when it comes to the environment – we need to get active, not anxious. What we do today will determine how we will be seen tomorrow,” said swimmer Husnah Kukundakwe, Ugandan para-swimmer and youngest athlete at the Tokyo Paralympics.
“Rebuilding nature is infectious – once seen by people, businesses and governments, restoration projects can inspire new ones. We can all join the race to restore our planet,” said Molly Seidel, who overcame depression and anxiety to become one of the world’s top long-distance runners.

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