Forests worldwide, including in the UNECE region, play an essential role in mitigating climate change, sequestering millions of tons of carbon dioxide, providing carbon-neutral products and alleviating the impact of extreme weather events.
Forest degradation is a major threat throughout the UNECE region.
Caucasus and Central Asia: Despite their low forest cover, these countries are particularly affected by climate change on top of already existing strong human-caused pressures on forests particularly from local communities (fuel demand leading to illegal/excessive logging; overgrazing leading to forest degradation; irrigation and hydroelectric schemes along rivers leading to loss of forest cover).
Eastern and South-East Europe: Exacerbated by climate change, droughts, pests, diseases, and forest fires cause damage to forests, and lead to their significant degradation.
The potential of engaging in forest landscape restoration activities is huge. Restoration strengthens the resilience of forests and thereby contributes to climate change mitigation and biodiversity conservation. It also ensures that forests continue to provide goods and services for present and future generations.
The challenges to restore more widely and more quickly include the lack of tenure rights, weak governance and limited sustainable financing. The most common challenge involves land-use competition with other sectors: agriculture, natural resource use, mining, urbanization or infrastructure projects (roads, energy, mining, waste management).
Today, while increased efforts are needed to create green spaces in and around towns and cities, afforestation and forest restoration in rural areas require increased attention for citizens to fully enjoy the benefits provided by forests and trees.
The Joint UNECE/FAO Forestry and Timber Section supports UNECE member States in scaling up their efforts to restore degraded forests and landscapes. We organize capacity-building and provide policy advice for the development of national and regional strategies, policies, technical monitoring and finance.
In 2018 and 2021, we organized two ministerial meetings which resulted in pledges to restore more than 7 million hectares in the Caucasus and Central Asia, and Eastern and South-East Europe region under the Bonn Challenge by 2030.
Ministerial Meeting on Forest Landscape Restoration in Eastern and South-East Europe (October 2021, online).
UNECE and FAO are part of the Secretariat for the country-led restoration initiative ECCA30, along with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the World Bank and the World Resources Institute. The ECCA30 initiative seeks to bring 30 million hectares of degraded and deforested land in Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia into restoration by 2030. More information on ECCA30 is available here.
- National Policy Guiding Principles for Forest Landscape Restoration (UNECE region) (2022) available in English
- National Policy Guiding Principles for Forest Landscape Restoration in the Caucasus and Central Asia (2022) available in English and Russian
- Forest Landscape Restoration in Eastern and South East Europe (2021) available in English
- Forest Landscape Restoration in the Caucasus and Central Asia (2019) available in English and in Russian
- Validating a National Strategy Proposal for Forest Landscape Restoration in Kyrgyzstan (23-24 June 2022, Bishkek)
- Regional Policy Dialogue on Forest Landscape Restoration (09 February 2022, online)
- Achievements - challenges - aspirations for forest landscape restoration in the Caucasus and Central Asia (November 2021, online)
- Ministerial Meeting on Forest Landscape Restoration and the ECCA30/Bonn Challenge in Eastern and South-East Europe (October 2021, online)
- Workshop on Forest Monitoring and Restoration in the Caucasus and Central Asia (9 December 2020)
- Webinar on Financing Forest Landscape Restoration in Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia (16 July 2020). Recording of the webinar is available here
- Preparatory meeting on Forest Landscape Restoration and the Bonn Challenge in Eastern and South-East Europe (16-17 December 2019)
- Forest Congress for the Caucasus and Central Asia (28-31 May 2019)
- Ministerial Roundtable on Forest Landscape Restoration and the Bonn Challenge in the Caucasus and Central Asia (21-22 June 2018)
Background documents on the Bonn Challenge and ECCA30
- ECCA30 Ministerial Declaration in English
- Background paper: Forest Landscape Restoration and the Bonn Challenge in Eastern and South-East Europe, available in English
- Getting started with the Bonn Challenge, available in English and Russian
- Summary report from the Ministerial Roundtable on FLR and the Bonn Challenge in the Caucasus and Central Asia, available in English and Russian
- Astana Resolution, available in English and Russian
- A Guide to the Restoration Opportunities Assessment Methodology, in English
- Biodiversity guidelines for forest landscape restoration opportunities assessments, in English
- Forest landscape restoration pathways to achieving the SDGs, in English
- Gender-responsive restoration guidelines, in English
- Second Bonn Challenge progress report, Application of the Barometer in 2018, in English