A flagship project from St. Lucia aimed at scaling up ridge-to-reef restoration of unique ecosystems and tapping blue economic growth to help island communities rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic is among ten ground-breaking efforts from around the globe recognized by the United Nations.
The UN said the project classified as the “Small Island Developing States Restoration Drive,” focused on three small island developing states,, St. Lucia, Vanuatu, and Comoros.
It said the goals of the project include a reduction in pressures on coral reefs, which are vulnerable to storm damage, so that fish stocks can recover. Ecosystems under restoration also include seagrass beds, mangroves and forests.
“As well as creating a “toolbox” of solutions for sustainable island development, this flagship aims to amplify the voice of island nations facing rising sea levels and intensifying storms as a result of climate change,” the UN added.
The initiatives were declared World Restoration Flagships and are eligible to receive UN-backed promotion, advice or funding. They were selected under the banner of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, a global movement coordinated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). It is designed to prevent and reverse the degradation of natural spaces across the planet.
The UN said that together, the ten flagships aim to restore more than 68 million hectares and create nearly 15 million jobs.
In revealing the World Restoration Flagships, the UN Decade seeks to honor the best examples of large-scale and long-term ecosystem restoration, embodying the ten Restoration Principles of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.
The UN Decade acknowledges the time needed for restoration efforts to deliver results. Until 2030, regular calls for World Restoration Flagships will be launched.
In expectation of increased funding to the UN Decade’s Multi-Partner Trust Fund (MPTF), additional submissions are being considered, including restoration drives from Pakistan, Peru, and an initiative focusing on Somalia and other drought-affected countries.
“Transforming our relationship with nature is the key to reversing the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste,” said Andersen:
“These ten inaugural World Restoration Flagships show that with political will, science, and collaboration across borders, we can achieve the goals of the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration and forge a more sustainable future not only for the planet but also for those of us who call it home,” the UNEP official added.
The other winning initiatives come from Abu Dhabi, Africa, India, Central America, Indonesia, and China.