Carlow Drummin Bog Project will contribute to the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration 2021-30

Faced with the climate and biodiversity emergencies, the United Nations has declared 2021-2030 as the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. The goal is to ramp up efforts to reverse centuries of damage to forests, wetlands and other ecosystems. Getting it right will be key to putting the planet back on a sustainable course.

UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration

We are not powerless against climate change.

Statement by Martha Rojas Urrego,
Secretary General of the International Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
World Wetlands Day 2019

The EU Climate Monitor, Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) has confirmed that 2019 ‘was the hottest ever recorded in Europe’! (EURACTIV, 2020). Correspondingly, restoring critical ecosystems that can store carbon will be a priority for communities around the world in the coming years.

In response, the UN is dedicating resources and information to support communities and governments. From 2021-2030 will be recognised as the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration. The Drummin Bog Project , in a small way will be part of this societal change. It will invite local people in South County Carlow in Ireland to live well with their unique wetland heritage.

We all depend on healthy ecosystems for food and energy, water and biodiversity. Their continued degradation contributes to climate change and enhances the risk of severe ecological disasters. Widespread loss of function in both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems will be catastrophic for our planet and a huge setback on progress made towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. It’s time to rebuild what has been lost.

UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration

Even above planting trees, restoring wetlands like Drummin Bog. will be one of the most critical activities humanity can act for in this coming decade. The UN shares:

We have witnessed the loss of 70 per cent of our wetlands over the last century, leading to localized biodiversity losses and devastating water shortages. […] Ecosystem restoration generates tangible benefits for food and water security, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and can prevent conflict and migration triggered by environmental degradation. Between now and 2030, the restoration of 350 million hectares of degraded terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems could generate US$9 trillion in ecosystem services. Restoration could also remove 13 to 26 gigatons of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. The economic benefits of such interventions exceed ten times the cost of investment, whereas inaction is at least three times more costly than ecosystem restoration. [..]

UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration

The UN Decade calls for strong commitments and efforts by countries, the international community, civil society, businesses, and others to achieve transformational ecosystem restoration. All ecosystems are addressed, including forests, grasslands, croplands, wetlands, savannahs, inland water, coastal and marine ecosystems, and even urban environments.

The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-30 aims to:

  • Showcase successful government-led and private initiatives to halt ecosystem degradation, restore those ecosystems that have already been degraded
  • Enhance knowledge exchange on what works and why (policy, economics and biophysical aspects), and how to implement restoration at scale
  • Connect initiatives working in the same landscape, region, or topic, to increase efficiency and impact
  • Create links between ecosystem restoration opportunities and initiatives with businesses interested in building a solid portfolio of sustainable production and impact investment
  • Bring a wider spectrum of actors on board, especially from sectors that are not traditionally involved, by demonstrating the importance of ecosystem restoration to conservation as well as generation of social and economic benefits.

Healthy ecosystems key to human survival: enacting the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals

We cannot realistically achieve the Sustainable Development Goals without addressing the threats to the very fabric of life on the planet.

Climate change mitigation and adaptation, water, and food security, poverty reduction, economic growth, and biodiversity conservation all depend on thriving, well-functioning ecosystems.

The UN sustainable developments goals that can be achieved by restoring wetlands.

Martha Rojas Urrego, Secretary General of the International Ramsar Convention on Wetlands World Wetlands Day 2019 explained the importance of communities to restore and safeguard their wetlands in this short video below:

The UN has also strongly signalled that young people will be critical in developing life-sustaining skills to safeguard life on Earth.

Youth movements around the globe are taking the lead in the race against climate change and ecosystem degradation. Today’s youth generations feel the responsibility to act, and bring change toward healthier landscapes. 

In view of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration it is paramount that youth expertise and skills are included as well as their needs met. Generation Restoration is the program led by the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) and the Youth in Landscapes Initiative (YIL) that will ensure that youth will not only be part of the Decade, but will be one of the main actors. 

Generation Restoration will support thriving communities of restoration of practices and foster youth leadership in the green economy.  This 12-year program will see youth taking the lead and restoring millions of hectares of degraded land around the world.

Over the coming year the Drummin Bog Project will be advancing community learning activities about wetland restoration. Details to follow in next post.

Happy New Year and Decade everyone!

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