Forest landscape restoration (FLR) is an inclusive and integrated landscape approach that can help address the need to restore degraded forests and landscapes, conserve biodiversity, increase carbon sinks, and create sustainable livelihoods for local communities.
Embarking on the first year of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030 in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond offers an excellent opportunity to scale up global efforts on restoration partnerships. Acknowledging the need to enhance restoration initiatives at the national and sub-national levels to contribute to the UN Decade and to create a greener Asia, AFoCO and the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) jointly organized a virtual workshop on “Forest Landscape Restoration in the Asia-Pacific Region” from 30 August to 3 September 2021.
The workshop saw a total of 92 participants from 15 countries and various organizations, including the Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF), Green Climate Fund (GCF), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO), and The Center for People and Forests (RECOFTC).
By providing a comprehensive understanding of the six FLR principles and associated guiding elements based on ITTO’s recent Guidelines on Forest Landscape Restoration in the Tropics, the workshop aimed to build the capacities of AFoCO and ITTO member countries in implementing FLR actions.
At the opening ceremony, AFoCO’s Executive Director, Mr. Ricardo L. Calderon, acknowledged ITTO as a key partner in organizing capacity-building activities on FLR and encouraged participating countries to share their knowledge and experiences on FLR interventions at the country level. He further highlighted that the challenge at the landscape level is to strike a balance among land uses to sustainably manage landscapes to ensure sustainable and continuous flows of economic goods and ecosystem services.
“Together with our partners, we will continue to provide a platform to exchange technical expertise and relevant experiences as we promote the landscape approach in Ecosystem Restoration,” said Mr. Ricardo L. Calderon.
In his welcome remark, Mr. Steven Johnson, Officer-in-Charge of the ITTO Secretariat, expressed his appreciation to AFoCO for collaborating to organize a capacity-building workshop on FLR. He further stressed that the more than 9 million hectares of degraded forests in the tropics need to be restored and maintained, to ensure resilience in the face of climate change.
“We believe that the partnership between the ITTO and AFoCO can pave the way for more collaboration to promote sustainable forest management in the member countries of AFoCO and ITTO, as well as other countries in the coming years,” said Mr. Steven Johnson.
The outputs of this workshop are expected to contribute to future project development on integrated forest and ecosystem restoration initiatives at the national and sub-national levels.
Contributed by Kay Khine, AFoCO Fellowship Official from Myanmar