Goals and Commitments for the Restoration Decade

The year 2021 will see the kick-off of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration — a culmination of growing global attention, agreements, and ambitions for restoration and improved land management. This policy brief gives a global overview of countries’ restoration commitments under the three Rio Conventions (UNFCCC, CBD, UNCCD) and other pledges, with total restoration commitments covering close to 1 billion hectares.

Restoration and improved land management can contribute to multiple Sustainable Development Goals simultaneously

Measures that help to restore land and improve its management can offer multiple and simultaneous benefits to society — contributing to achieving the SDGs on food and water security, and help to address biodiversity loss and mitigate and adapt to climate change. This diversity of benefits has resulted in restoration commitments submitted by countries across international conventions on climate, biodiversity and desertification and voluntary initiatives, such as the Bonn Challenge.

Global estimates of countries’ restoration commitments

This policy brief provides an estimate of the total current global restoration ambition level, where these commitments are located, geographically, and what they entail, as well as insights into how to improve future national plans for restoration. It provides policymakers with quantitative information on the order of magnitude of commitments, as well as identifying challenges in assessing the overlaps, alignment and measurability of commitments.

Total restoration commitments cover close to 1 billion hectares, almost half of which are in Sub-Saharan Africa

In total, 115 countries have put forward quantitative, area-based commitments to at least one of the three Rio Conventions (the CBD, UNCCD, UNFCCC) or to the Bonn Challenge. The middle estimate in this policy brief totals close to 1 billion hectares. Almost half of the restoration commitments are found in Sub-Saharan Africa, followed by Central and South America, China and South Asia. Relatively few commitments have been made by countries in North America, Europe, Russia, Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.


PBL Authors
Annelies Sewell Stefan van der Esch
Other authors
Hannah Löwenhardt


Publication title
Goals and Commitments for the Restoration Decade
Publication subtitle
A global overview of countries' restoration commitments under the Rio Conventions and other pledges
Publication date
3 November 2020
Publication type
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