The Role of Ecosystem Restoration for the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement
Fuchs; Gregory; Noebel, Rebecca (2022): The role of ecosystem restoration for the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Bonn.
As nations have been gathering at COP27 for the climate negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the role of ecosystem restoration as "natural climate solutions" is of key importance as healthy ecosystems can make a crucial contribution to both mitigation and adaptation to climate change. The restoration of ecosystems can be an effective ecosystem-based adaptation and ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction, and hence is one of the most powerful nature-based solutions (NBSs) to tackle climate change. The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration also urges preventing, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems worldwide to achieve climate goals.
Based on the policy developments and scientific findings, this paper provides an overview of the role of ecosystem restoration for the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement. It outlines a policy context that considers the evolution of restoration activities and their importance in different elements of the Convention, maps them on a timescale, and focuses particularly on Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). It provides policy recommendations to realise the adaptation potential of restoration. It has been included as an input for the German delegation in preparation for the COP27 climate negotiations in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
The manifold advantages of ecosystem restoration are not yet sufficiently considered in decision-making processes due to siloed approaches and a lack of awareness. To realise the adaptation potential of restoration and other NBSs, scaling up finance and increasing implementation in this UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration is crucial. It is also key to weave restoration stronger into existing tools (NDCs, National Adaptation Plans NAPs, REDD+, etc.) while continuing to commit to strong emission reduction. Furthermore, applying NBS such as ecosystem restoration can strengthen synergies between the UNFCCC and other Rio Conventions and help to tackle the climate and biodiversity crises at the same time.