20 million hectares in Latin America and the Caribbean under restoration by 2020

Brazil. Amy Duchelle, CIFOR
27 November 2018

Goal: Bring 20 million hectares of degraded land in Latin America and the Caribbean into restoration by 2020

Origin story: Initiative 20×20 was launched at the 2014 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 20) in Lima, Peru. The initiative is country-led, with the World Resources Institute (WRI) acting as the secretariat, in partnership with the Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration (GPFLR), the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF Task Force) and the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative (LPFN).

Current status: Seventeen out of the 33 countries in region along with three states of Brazil (Mato Grosso, São Paulo and Espírito Santo) and three NGOs (Bosques Modelo, Conservacion Patagonica and the American Bird Conservancy) have together committed to bring 53.2 million hectares under restoration by 2020.

About the money: As of now, USD 2.6 billion has been earmarked for 20×20 restoration efforts – a significant increase from1.5 billion in 2017. On the returns side, the initiative says that the total value from restoration in Latin America is USD 1,140 per hectare. If the full 20 million hectares are restored, rural communities in the region are estimated to receive 23 billion in benefits.

Among the other commitments: The initiative was created specifically as a way to localize efforts to achieve the targets of the Bonn Challenge and the New York Declaration on Forests – which aim to restore or bring 350 million hectares under restoration globally by 2030 – in the Latin America region.

Progress reports: There is no centralized tracking system for countries’ progress on their commitments.

Words from an expert: Javier Warman, Forest Director, WRI Mexico

On successes so far
“There’s this idea of a mission, of setting the idea of restoration on national goals. Through the initiative, there is investment happening in the region. We have USD 400 million that has been invested in restoration.

“Specifically, in Chile, a lot has been invested in ecological restoration. Uruguay is a small country and has made a lot of progress with their plantations, and in terms of forest cover they have done great. Mexico is in the middle. The goal set by the government is huge – 8.5 million hectares to restore, and they’ve only done 1 million. But, it’s a government initiative that’s being well implemented.

Peru has been doing a good job of avoiding deforestation and restoring. In the Tambopata Natural Reserve, there’s a good mix of a local tech partner Aider, financial partner Althelia and local people from reserve together investing for local production, tourism and protection from deforestation over an area of 1,300 hectares.” 

On challenges
“I think this is the biggest challenge: getting the money to everybody. While there is money for restoration in international funds, it is not easy to bring this down to the ground. International funds are mostly for larger projects in Latin America. For projects based on small producers – community projects – it is  difficult to get investment to them. Large funds normally look for projects that are in the 10s or 100s of millions of dollars, to put through administrative process. And you have local projects all through Latin America that are in the thousands of dollars. Matching investments to those needs is very difficult.

“It has to come through larger flexibility from these funds, and national efforts to consolidate funding groups to one single end. The administrative costs for these funds to go to very small projects makes it not viable, and at the same time, growing these small projects and putting these small producers together to get funded – to meet the funders somewhere in the middle – is difficult. Learning who is this middle actor that can receive the money nationally and distribute it at a project level, that has been difficult.”