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Bianca Jagger praises 18 million hectare forest restoration pledge

By Linden Volsun - 20 Jun 2012 17:48:21 GMT
Bianca Jagger praises 18 million hectare forest restoration pledge

Deforestation image; Credit: © Shutterstock

Environmental campaigner, former actress, and model Bianca Jagger, who is also Founder of the 'Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation' has welcomed promises to restore more than 18 million hectares of forest. (approx 45 million acres)

The US forest service has pledged to restore 15 million hectares of deforested and degraded lands by 2020 as part of the Bonn Challenge target to restore 150 million hectares.

The Rwandan Government has pledged to restore 2 million hectares and a Brazilian coalition along with indigenous peoples from Mesoamerica have pledged 1 million hectares, making a total of 18 million hectares.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the world's largest and oldest global environmental body, has also praised the move.

Bianca Jagger, an ambassador for the Plant a Pledge land restoration campaign, says: "These unprecedented land restoration pledges totalling 18 million hectares take us over 10 per cent closer to meeting the Bonn Challenge target of 150 million hectares by 2020. As Ambassador for the Plant a Pledge Campaign, I am delighted. This is a great step forward."

"It is encouraging that countries and landowners are making concrete pledges to restore degraded and deforested land by 2020: in great contrast to the lack of leadership being shown at the RIO+20 negotiations."

But Bianca says more needs to be done and she urges people around the world to add their name to a petition at Plant a Pledge, an IUCN campaign to create global awareness of the targets.

"This is a unique opportunity to renew our forest landscapes now. Our fate and the fate of future generations depend on it," she adds.

The pledges secured will help put billions of dollars into the global economy, as well as additional benefits such as food security and addressing climate change, says IUCN.

Just a day earlier, the Rio+ Dialogues public votes were announced and the second proposal overall and top of the dialogues in the forest category is restoration of 150 million hectares of ruined lands.

IUCN Director of Nature Based Solutions, Stewart Maginnis says large-scale restoration of landscapes will also help address vital world challenges, including poverty, food distribution, and climate change.

The Bonn Challenge began in September 2011 at a ministerial roundtable event organised by IUCN in Germany and the Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration (GPFLR). The IUCN says two billion hectares of forest around the world could be restored.

IUCN figures show that restoring 150 million hectares would add more than $80 billion to the global economy and reduce the climate change 'emissions gap' by up to 17%.

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