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IUCN World Conservation Congress: Reforest’Action meets international forest restoration stakeholders


From September 3rd to 11th, the last edition of the IUCN world congress took place in Marseille. This key international event gathered thousands of actors of nature conservation, ahead of the COPs. Over two days, Reforest’Action contributed to the global dialogue on the restoration of forests.

The IUCN World Conservation Congress is a major international event of the environmental sphere. Every 4 years, it gathers most of the leaders and global players who act for the protection of nature within government, civil communities, research centers, companies or aboriginal communities. A few months after the Global Forest Summit co-organized by Reforest-Action, with the Open Diplomacy Institute, the IUCN Congress was taking place prior to two other major events on the global environment agenda: the COP 26 on climate and the COP 15 on biodiversity.

Roundtables on global reforestation and plantings in France

The question of ecosystems preservation and conservation was naturally widely debated during the Congress. At the same time, another essential and complementary topic was broached: the question of restoration. Last June, the UN Decade of Ecosystems Restoration opened and Reforest’Action took part in two roundtables, co-organized with our partner, France Nature Environnement. Reforest’Action president Stéphane Hallaire talked, among other things, about quality international reforestations, put at the service of multifunctional forests. « In the face of the increasing number of environmental challenges, we need to learn how to live with threats of natural hazards and adapt our forest restoration projects to our local partners », he explained.

Wishing to create a whole generation of reforestation entrepreneurs, Stéphane Hallaire highlighted the importance of private sources of funding to achieve the restoration of forests on a global scale in the 10 upcoming years. « According to the UNDP and the World Economic Forum, 4700 M$ need to be invested in nature-based solutions before 2050, including 50 % for forests. After that time, the objective is that 85 % of funding come from private funds and 15 % from the general population. Public actors need to create the conditions to favor these fundings ». Thibaud Poulain, temperate forests project Manager, took part in a second roundtable, dedicated to tree plantings in French forests in context of global warming. « Our reforestation actions, through planting and natural regeneration, lie on the diversification of the species planted, which favors the forest’s resistance to hazards and helps develop ecosystemic services ».

Engaging with major actors of forest landscape restoration

Among the other highlights of the event, a session dedicated to the acceleration of the Bonn Challenge was the occasion for several ministers of the environment (from Belize, Chili, Honduras) to announce the restoration of millions of hectares of forests in the years to come. To be efficient and sustainable, reforestations will need to follow the guidelines published in 2021, such as the 10 principles devised to guide the UN Decade on Ecosystem restoration or the Kew Garden 10 golden rules on reforestation.

While one of the sessions broached the topic of the Restoration Initiative, fostered by the UICN, President of the Global Environment Facility Carlos Manuel Rodriguez highlighted the fact that protecting and restoring nature should not be an economic burden, saying that, on the contrary, « It stimulates it ». Pakistani Federal Minister For Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam Khan added: « We need to invest in nature, it will always repay us », adding that « In terms of reforestation, natural assisted regeneration can help reduce 40 % of a project cost, as compared to a planting project ».

During this same session, FAO coordinator of the Forest and Landscape Restoration Mechanism Christophe Besacier and Daniel Vallauri, head of the WWF Forest Programme in France, highlighted the good practices and lessons learnt regarding forest landscape restoration. Following those different sessions, Reforest’Action extended the international dialogue and exchange on how to impulse a large-scale quality reforestation around the world.