Manila Declaration on Forest and Landscape Restoration: Making It Happen
2. Key Messages and Outcomes of the FLR 2019 Conference
- FLR is a dynamic and ongoing process, with no clear endpoint and no single or straight trajectory. FLR is a transformational process involving people and landscapes. Critically, it cannot be defined by projects, project budgets, and short-term outputs alone. FLR trajectories can begin in many ways, such as an ecological restoration or conservation initiative, as a local food security/agroforestry project, as a commercial forestry undertaking, research, or watershed management project. FLR can also begin through a process of collaboration and coordination within a landscape that improves local livelihoods and environmental conditions through implementing diverse types of tree cover. How it begins and how it is labelled does not matter nearly as much as the concrete steps that are made to broaden and achieve common goals and vision, regularly assess and evaluate progress, and adapt to challenges and opportunities that arise along the way.
- Subnational initiatives (state, municipality, local government unit, or regional level) are the basic units of FLR activity. Centralized governments come and go. Stable and long-term support for FLR interventions should emerge from local and regional jurisdictions where turnover of staff is often lower, operations can be more focused, and agencies are invested in long-term outcomes. Furthermore, whereas local government is focused on local development, and can recognize the problems and opportunities, national government is segregated into sectorial ministries that are often competing for budgets and influence. Greater empowerment and independence should be focused at local and regional levels of government.
- We need more effective ways to “learn” from experiences and refine practices to achieve greater positive impacts, to document cases of success and failure, to link specific types of interventions with specific outcomes over time, and to communicate effectively and apply this learning to new initiatives. Through case studies, we need to demonstrate how FLR can add value to rural development efforts and can help to achieve sustainable development goals.
- FLR is more about people than about forests. Greater focus on local people’s needs and involvement throughout the FLR process, including effective engagement in planning, operational activities, and most importantly realizing benefits and enhancing livelihoods through FLR.
- Progress gained can be easily lost. Many projects fail to consider their exit strategy and simply end with no follow-up or exit plan. Building local capacity and institutions helps to build resilience and maintain forward momentum, along with continued support and guidance.
- There is an urgent need to engage youth in all aspects of FLR, perhaps even linking rural activities to youth programs in nearby cities. How can younger generations see their future integrated with the landscape where they originated? What visions do they have for these landscapes and how can they be a part of this change?
- The need and benefits of FLR are poorly communicated and recognized. Political and social visibility is hugely important. Many outstanding efforts deserve greater recognition and publicity.
- Business models are needed that apply to FLR and that incorporate landscape approaches. These models should apply to a range of stakeholders including smallholders, local government, local businesses, and investors; and explore innovative blended financing mechanisms. The importance of cost-effectiveness needs to be elevated at project, program, and national scales.
- A focus on enabling conditions is essential, particularly clear land and resource tenure, consistent supporting policies that ensure that local people derive tangible benefits from FLR initiatives. Building capacity in all its dimensions helps to establish a firm foundation for FLR initiatives. Capacity also needs to develop in government agencies to initiate cross-sectoral dialogues, coalitions, and collaborations for FLR.
- Assessments of restoration success and restoration “readiness” should incorporate measures of human and social capital, community capacity, and other measures of human well-being.
- Develop a conceptual framework capable of guiding the practical interpretation of the FLR principles across a range of contexts along with an example of an associated working framework for a particular context;
- Compose a short version of the working framework document, translate it into many languages, and disseminate it among many potential users;
- Illustrate how different interventions have operationalized FLR principles (different cases can apply to each principle) through case studies and systematic reviews
- Provide different users and sectors with targeted documentation, such as briefs and videos, to illustrate how FLR aligns with (a) broader national and international development and climate agendas; (b) good community-based governance; (c) broad environment and social policy agendas; (d) funding and investment practices and programs from both public and private sectors;
- Encourage and support the co-development and testing of working frameworks to assess their utility and effectiveness for different FLR actors;
- Communicate the urgency and legitimacy of FLR to different user groups, stakeholders, sectors, funding agencies, and jurisdictions;
- Engage additional members in the FLoRES task force and broaden its interaction with interested parties;
- Advance this agenda (steps 1–7) through international institutional platforms such as World Agroforestry (ICRAF), Asia-Pacific Network for Sustainable Forest Management (APFNet), the Global Partnership on Forest and Landscape Restoration (GPFLR), and through international conferences and workshops.
3. The Way Forward
Conflicts of Interest
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Chazdon, R.L.; Herbohn, J.; Mukul, S.A.; Gregorio, N.; Ota, L.; Harrison, R.D.; Durst, P.B.; Chaves, R.B.; Pasa, A.; Hallett, J.G.; Neidel, J.D.; Watson, C.; Gutierrez, V. Manila Declaration on Forest and Landscape Restoration: Making It Happen. Forests 2020, 11, 685. https://doi.org/10.3390/f11060685
Chazdon RL, Herbohn J, Mukul SA, Gregorio N, Ota L, Harrison RD, Durst PB, Chaves RB, Pasa A, Hallett JG, Neidel JD, Watson C, Gutierrez V. Manila Declaration on Forest and Landscape Restoration: Making It Happen. Forests. 2020; 11(6):685. https://doi.org/10.3390/f11060685Chicago/Turabian Style
Chazdon, Robin L., John Herbohn, Sharif A. Mukul, Nestor Gregorio, Liz Ota, Rhett D. Harrison, Patrick B. Durst, Rafael B. Chaves, Arturo Pasa, James G. Hallett, J. David Neidel, Cathy Watson, and Victoria Gutierrez. 2020. "Manila Declaration on Forest and Landscape Restoration: Making It Happen" Forests 11, no. 6: 685. https://doi.org/10.3390/f11060685