Remarks by Minister Vincent Biruta at IUCN Bonn Challenge Celebration, Bonn

Remarks by Minister Vincent Biruta

IUCN Forests Cocktail Celebration: Driving Bonn Challenge Momentum

Bonn, Germany | November 14, 2017

Distinguished guests, it is my pleasure to be with you this evening to celebrate the Bonn Challenge.

Rwanda was an early adopter of the forest landscape restoration approach. In 2011, my country pledged ‘border to border’ restoration of 2 million hectares under the Bonn Challenge. Since then, we have worked to foster regional collaboration to protect and restore our precious land.

Last year, Rwanda had the privilege of hosting a high-level dialogue on the Bonn Challenge. At the meeting, 13 African nations signed the Kigali Declaration that called for countries to accelerate action on restoration.

The Declaration now has 17 signatories and was given renewed impetus by the recent Lilongwe and Niamey Calls to Action, which urged governments to increase restoration targets and achieve existing ones.

I am pleased that the Niamey Call to Action included an endorsement of the Kigali Declaration by all countries working on restoration under the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative, making it a pan-African document that will be shared with the African Union.

Distinguished guests, as we meet here for COP23, I wish to also highlight the role the Bonn Challenge and forest landscape restoration can play in helping countries achieve their national climate action plans. The momentum we have seen over the last two years forms a solid foundation for enhanced climate action plans and I encourage all nations to endorse the Kigali Declaration.

To enable countries to do so, we need to find the right procedure for reopening the Declaration for signing. I am sure we can do this together and continue to build on this momentum.

Ladies and gentlemen, 19 African countries have pledged 80 million hectares to the Bonn Challenge and the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative. Our commitment to restoration is unwavering. I invite you to join us in the global restoration movement.

Thank you for your kind attention.