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New UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration

Tree Aid welcomes the declaration by the United Nations General Assembly that 2021—2030 will be the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. Ecosystem and forest restoration in the drylands of Africa will tackle food insecurity, poverty, and the climate crisis.

The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration is a massive global ‘call to action’ to mobilise the political and financial support necessary to restore the world’s deforested and degraded ecosystems over the coming decade. In turn, this will support the wellbeing of 3.2 billion people around the globe and restore more than 2 billion hectares of land. Ending deforestation and re-planting trees on degraded land is vital to ensure success.

Ecosystem degradation in Africa

Africa is the only continent where deforestation rates are increasing and are in fact, four times the world average. It is also the continent most affected by desertification. In Africa’s drylands, this is accelerated by drought, climate change, and over-exploitation of land.

The degradation of Africa’s drylands has a devastating impact on the people who depend on farming for food and income, with many people in rural Africa living in extreme poverty and facing one of the most difficult climates on earth.

Restoring ecosystems for people and the planet

At Tree Aid, we are encouraged that the momentum for restoring ecosystems is gaining pace. We believe that protecting and restoring trees and forests is essential to tackle the climate crisis and secure the future for the millions of people who depend on forests and trees for food, energy, income, and other services.

A key element of Tree Aid’s vision is to enrich and restore dryland forest landscapes in order to benefit biodiversity, people and help adapt to a changing climate. Forest restoration in the drylands of Africa presents a huge opportunity for countries to meet their global climate and biodiversity targets and expand economic opportunities.

Restoring forests in Africa’s drylands brings numerous benefits to the communities that live there through increased forest resources and greater livelihood opportunities. By creating productive landscapes out of degraded land, we can reduce the pressure on natural forests and help end deforestation.

Tree Aid has been working for over three decades to help restore tree cover and support country pledges to halt and reduce land degradation and improve land productivity.

Contributing to African-led initiatives

The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration will build on existing African-led movements and commitments such as the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative under the Bonn Challenge and the Great Green Wall Initiative; efforts which are committed to bringing back to life millions of hectares of degraded and deforested African landscapes by 2030. These are powerful initiatives, which Tree Aid supports, to co-ordinate stakeholders, gather political support, and escalate ideas and best practices that bring restoration to scale.

Tree Aid welcomes the UN’s decision to declare 2021—2030 the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and remains committed to actively contributing towards forest restoration in Africa’s drylands.