Guides Menu
Guidelines for urban ecosystem restoration Menu

Back to all guides

Get involved

Find out how cities can actively support the restoration of their ecosystems

The Bonn Challenge

The Bonn Challenge has set a global goal to restore 150 million ha of degraded and deforested landscapes by 2020 and 350 million ha by 2030. Launched by the Government of Germany and IUCN in 2011, the challenge surpassed the 150-million-hectare milestone for pledges in 2017.  These pledges by countries, organizations and private entities are aimed at achieving ambitious targets to restore degraded and deforested lands. The challenge aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Aichi Biodiversity Targets (now Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework), the Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) goal, and the Paris Climate Change Agreement. The Bonn Challenge particularly relies on a forest landscape restoration (FLR) approach, which restores ecological integrity while enhancing human well-being. Under the challenge, regional political and technical cooperation, including by governments, has been fostered, along with spaces to share lessons learned and best practices. Initiatives forged under the challenge include the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100)Initiative 20×20 in Latin America and the CaribbeanECCA30 in Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia, and the Agadir Commitment in the Mediterranean region.

UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration

The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration is a rallying call for the protection and revival of ecosystems all around the world, for the benefit of people and nature. It aims to halt the degradation of ecosystems, and restore them to achieve global Sustainable Development Goals. Only with healthy ecosystems can we enhance people’s livelihoods, counteract climate change, and stop the collapse of biodiversity. The UN Decade runs from 2021 through 2030, which is also the deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals and the timeline scientists have identified as the last chance to prevent catastrophic climate change. The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration has identified 10 first flagship initiatives that illustrate the breadth and promise of restoration work already underway. 

The UN Decade Action Plan invites concrete action, including from local governments, to join forces and take leadership to achieve the objectives set by the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration up to 2030.

Cities Challenge

As part of the Action Plan, there is a Cities Challenge which aims to spread knowledge, share tools, and build capacity on mainstreaming ecosystem restoration activities and nature-based solutions into city management and planning practices. The Cities Challenge also aims to increase advocacy around the return on investment in nature-based solutions and make the business case for ecosystem restoration. The Cities Challenge will work with cities to scale out engagement and shift the prioritisation of budgets towards an ecosystem-based approach.

Ecosystem restoration in the

 Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework

In December 2022, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity’s 15th Conference of the Parties (CBD COP15) took place in Montreal, Canada, bringing together governments and stakeholders from all over the world to gather and agree on actions towards achieving the 2030 goals for biodiversity. More than 190 countries represented at COP15 finalized and adopted the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), charting a way forward for global action to halt biodiversity loss. The GBF speaks directly to ecosystem restoration in Target 2: Ensure that by 2030 at least 30 percent of areas of degraded terrestrial, inland water, and coastal and marine ecosystems are under effective restoration, in order to enhance biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services, ecological integrity and connectivity. 

Target 3 of the GBF calls for 30% of the earth’s land and sea to be conserved through the establishment of protected areas (PAs) and other area-based conservation measures (OECMs). The 30×30 target is more ambitious than its predecessor, Aichi Target 11, which aimed for the protection of 17% of land and 10% of coastal and marine areas. Aichi Target 11 was partially successful in numbers, but less so in quality, due to concerns that many protected areas lack connectivity, do not always safeguard the most important areas for biodiversity, and are not equitably and effectively managed.

Target 12 is the first global biodiversity target, which Parties to the CBD are obliged to meet that specifically recognizes cities and their role in contributing to the provision of ecosystem functions and services. This target calls for a significant increase in the area and quality, and connectivity of, access to, and benefits from green and blue spaces in urban and densely populated areas sustainably, by mainstreaming the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, and ensure biodiversity-inclusive urban planning, enhancing native biodiversity, ecological connectivity and integrity, and improving human health and well-being and connection to nature, and contributing to inclusive and sustainable urbanization and to the provision of ecosystem functions and services.

What does the 30×30 target (Target 2 and 3 of the GBF) mean for local governments?

Cities are on the frontline of responding to the adverse impacts of land degradation on their communities. Yet, cities are also hubs of innovation and solutions to such challenges. Cities play a critical role in upscaling actions that will transform the current consumptive and destructive development trajectory, to a more sustainable one in harmony with nature. As government institutions, local governments are more agile than national governments when it comes to developing and adopting new policy instruments and plans; and can do so more quickly and easily than their national counterparts because of their proximity to their communities. 

Subnational and local governments can introduce projects, programs and measures that are directed at implementing their commitments and contributing to one or more of the GBF targets. This will demonstrate their support to the successful implementation of NBSAPs, the GBF and the programs of work under the Convention on Biological Diversity. For example, actions taken at the local and subnational scales to restore degraded ecosystems, protect areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services, and implement other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs) can contribute to the achievement of the ‘30 x 30’ targets (Targets 2 and 3). The restoration of degraded ecosystems in cities is gaining traction under the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, offering opportunities for sustainable job creation, food security and addressing climate change.

Why 30x30?

The 30% conservation goal was chosen by scientists because it’s a level that gives the planet a chance to recover and could protect millions of species from extinction.

Ecosystem restoration in the

Plan of Action on Subnational Governments, cities and other local authorities for biodiversity (2023–2030)

Under Action Area 7: Monitoring and reporting of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework’s (GBF) Plan of Action, CitiesWithNature and RegionsWithNature is recognized by UN Biodiversity as the place where cities will monitor and report on their voluntary commitments to contributing to the implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework and national biodiversity strategies and action plans; and countries are encouraged to include such contributions into National Reports under the CBD.

Your city can join CitiesWithNature and RegionsWithNature to capture your commitments to take concrete action for biodiversity on the Action Platform, thereby becoming part of the global community of subnational and local governments taking action for nature and reporting on them, supporting their national governments in implementing the GBF and NBSAPs. This will serve, in turn, to inspire other subnational and local governments to follow your city’s lead, thereby amplifying and scaling out actions for biodiversity.

On the CitiesWithNature Action Platform your city can report under the following areas:

Join CitiesWithNature today, report your city’s restoration actions, and explore actions from other cities on the CitiesWithNature Action Platform