Nature in crisis
Habitats all over the world are being degraded, damaged, and destroyed. Between 2001 and 2018 alone, about 1.4 million square miles of tree cover was lost, a total area larger than Peru. Globally, seagrass meadows have declined by a third, saltmarsh and mangroves have halved and more than 85% of oyster reefs have been lost.
This affects us all. A healthy environment regulates the climate, provides food, cleans the air and water, protects us from natural disasters, and is central to the culture, wellbeing, and livelihood of millions. We cannot afford to lose these habitats.
Bringing about change
At UNEP-WCMC we are optimistic that change is possible, but recognise it requires everyone to work together in order to achieve the future we want and need. To enable this transition, we provide strategic leadership, technical expertise, and project support to inspire, empower and enable those striving to make a difference.
1.Supporting and tracking progress towards global goals and targets
Governments, businesses, and society have set ambitious targets to restore our degraded ecosystems. Working in the science-policy interface with partners worldwide, we bring together information on who is working where, what impact they are having, and where the remaining gaps are in order to focus efforts and track progress towards global goals and targets.
2. Prioritising efforts
We help those seeking to restore degraded ecosystems to understand where to concentrate their efforts, based on chances of success, alignment with national, regional and global policies and commitments, and the possible ecological, social and economic benefits for people and nature. A global spatial analysis published in 2020 shows that restoration of transformed ecosystems can be 13 times more effective when it takes place in high-priority locations.
3. Improving access to global biodiversity data and knowledge
Accurate, up-to-date, and easily accessible data and information are essential for evidence-based decision making and adaptive restoration action. At UNEP-WCMC we are mapping current restoration efforts to understand trends and gaps in data and knowledge, while also projecting forward to identify priorities and potential impacts of climate change.
We support the replication, implementation and upscaling of successful local and national efforts in different regions and at different scales. We do this by drawing on our 40 years of experience in global biodiversity science and policy and facilitating the sharing of the lessons learned from current and previous restoration efforts.
5.Delivering multiple benefits
Restoring degraded habitats can deliver multiple environmental benefits, as well as providing wider socio-economic benefits, by driving innovation, economic growth, and enhancing human wellbeing. To make these benefits a reality, we work with decision-makers to improve national, regional and global resource allocation to support effective restoration projects.
6.Fostering collaborations for change
We collaborate with partners around the world to build capacity and create innovative solutions to environmental challenges through ecosystem restoration. By drawing on our decades of experience, we can ensure that science, knowledge and insight are available to shape global and national policy for people and nature.
2021 marks the start of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration - ten years of global action to restore degraded ecosystems on land and water. At UNEP-WCMC we are helping design, implement and monitor nature-based solutions all over the world in support of this ambition, working for the benefit of people and nature.
Some of our partners and collaborators include: