The African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative is an $2 billion effort to restore 100 million hectares of land by 2030
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND, Nov. 4, 2021 – AFR100, an initiative dedicated to the restoration of 100 million hectares of land on the African continent will include Plant With Purpose, a leading Christian environmental organization, among the first 20 organizations to receive recognition and support for their program in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A consortium of members from World Resources Institute, One Tree Planted, and Realize Impact are choosing 100 projects in support of the AFR100 initiative, and have selected Plant With Purpose.
This announcement came during the third day of the COP26 climate change summit, in a session titled A New Phase for AFR100: Accelerating Africa’s Land Restoration Movement, co-hosted by AUDA-NEPAD (African Union Development Agency), World Resources Institute, and IUCN. The award was presented by Wanjira Mathai, WRI VP and Regional Director for Africa.
AFR100 was launched in 2015 with the target of restoring 100 million hectares of land by 2030. 65% of Africa’s land suffers from degradation, where overgrazing and conventional agriculture have taken a significant toll on agricultural land. Of the 45 countries with the highest climate risk, 35 are located in Sub-Saharan Africa. Remarks at COP26 emphasized the initiative’s focus towards activating women, youth, and smallholder farmers and resourcing them to invest in land restoration.
Plant With Purpose’s program in the Democratic Republic of the Congo began in 2015. Since then, it has established work in 74 communities, planting nearly 2.5 million trees. Through a community-based model of watershed restoration, Plant With Purpose has partnered with nearly 11,000 smallholder farmers, about three-quarters of whom are female. The program has connected land restoration to economic benefits, seeing a 55% reduction in poverty.
“We are delighted that the daily restoration work of our partnering farmers in eastern DRC is being recognized at such a high level,” said Valerie Foulkes, Strategic Initiatives Manager for Plant With Purpose. “These smallholder farmers are the true heros in the fight against climate change. With this additional funding, hardworking farming families will be equipped to further restore their land and lives as they reverse deforestation and grow out of poverty.”
The Plant With Purpose program promotes a three-pillar, evidence-based approach -- environmental regeneration; economic empowerment; and agency and stewardship. Equipped with locally conscious agricultural methodology, communities restore and protect watersheds in a sustainable manner which delivers measurable positive change based on key poverty and environmental indicators for direct and indirect participants. The watershed model scales impact exponentially as neighbors influence neighbors and experience regional transformation.
“We are super grateful to have our program in the DRC recognized and supported through AFR100. In the midst of the most difficult circumstances imaginable, farming families in the DRC are restoring the environment and providing a better future for their children. They are really leading the way and showing us how we can meet our own human needs and heal the planet at the same time,” added Plant With Purpose’s Strategic Partnerships Director, Doug Satre.
The selection committee ultimately seeks to award funding and support to the top 100 African land restoration projects. 3200 applications were received from over 300 community-based organizations and 70 entrepreneurs across 28 countries. 80 additional organizations will be added over the course of 2022. Funding will be sourced by a coalition of private and public funders, including the Bezos Earth Fund, the Green Climate Fund, and the Global Evergreening Alliance, and other partners. Jeff Bezos announced at COP26 today an additional $2 billion to restore natural habitats and restore food systems which will include a significant focus on African restoration projects.
Plant With Purpose will expand its work across eleven total watersheds in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by 2025, planting over 6.2 million additional trees and partnering with 133,000 additional smallholder farmers.
AFR100 (the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative) is a country-led effort to bring 100 million hectares of land in Africa into restoration by 2030. It aims to accelerate restoration to enhance food security, increase climate change resilience and mitigation, and combat rural poverty.
AFR100 is a partnership of 31 African governments and numerous technical and financial partners. Stakeholder engagement is a key principle of AFR100. Engaging all relevant stakeholders in the assessment of restoration opportunities and identification, testing and active upscaling of promising solutions is considered key for successful restoration. Among many targets the initiative contributes to domestic commitments, the Bonn Challenge, a global commitment to restore 150 million hectares of land around the world by 2020, the New York Declaration on Forests that extends the Bonn Challenge to 350 million hectares by 2030 and the African Resilient Landscapes Initiative (ARLI), an initiative to promote integrated landscape management.