Landscape Partnership Asia: restoring drylands and drought-prone areas

Leveraging existing restoration initiatives to massively expand scale
Part of the bed of the Aral Sea. Photo by AFoCO

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His Excellency Minister of Korea Forest Service Choi Byeong Am officially launched the Landscape Partnership Asia, the world’s largest programme devoted to forest and land restoration in Asia, on Monday 2 May 2022 at the World Forestry Congress in Seoul, Republic of Korea.

‘Drylands and drought-prone areas are not only ecosystems but also home to 2.5 billion people,’ he said. ‘Around 30% of the world’s drylands are located in Asia and most of them are in need of restoration. This is not impossible to achieve. The Republic of Korea restored its forests despite hard times. When our reforestation activities started, the GDP per capita of Korea was not even USD 500. After the Korean War, from 1973 until 1987, we have planted over 10 billion trees. Without technology and resources, we achieved success only due to people’s willingness to participate, without distinction between women or men. Currently, countries in Asia have better conditions than Korea at that time so I strongly believe that if you have the willingness, you can do it.’

Robert Nasi, managing director of CIFOR-ICRAF, noted that ‘drylands have been largely neglected so far by the restoration or climate agendas. Yet they harbour large amounts of unique biodiversity and of carbon thanks to their sheer size. Asian drylands have been even more neglected than other drylands. Dryland resources for crops, wood products or grazing are essential to the livelihoods of millions yet are among the most degraded and mis-managed lands. This makes the Landscape Partnership Asia totally relevant and more than timely. We still have time to turn the tide but not much.’

Landscape Partnership Asia is a multi-stakeholder platform that will implement performance-based investments in the restoration of Asian drylands and drought-prone areas through networks of ‘engagement landscapes’ deploying evidence-based techniques. These investments will mitigate the climate crisis, build resilience of forests, rangelands and agricultural landscapes, and improve livelihoods. The Partnership will link to other restoration initiatives — such as the Bonn Challenge, the UN Decade of Ecosystems Restoration and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ Asia-Pacific Forest Landscape Restoration Strategy — to create synergies.

The Partnership was co-founded by the Asian Forest Cooperation Organization, Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF), and the Global EverGreening Alliance.

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