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Key Takeaways from the One Planet Summit for Biodiversity

Farming First Farming First

Solutions for boosting land restoration, more sustainable agriculture and livelihoods topped the bill at the One Planet Summit for Biodiversity.

Held in Paris on January 11, the One Planet Summit for Biodiversity brought together heads of state and government along with banks and non-profit organisations to discuss actions to preserve and restore biodiversity.

The virtual event was hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron, alongside the UN Secretary General António Guterres, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. It featured vibrant discussions on a number of topics, including solutions to tackle the challenges faced by the agricultural sector, and how to conserve ecosystems and reduce deforestation to safeguard species and human health.

Restoring Africa’s degraded landscapes

One of the most notable announcements of the event was the World Bank Group’s promise to invest $5 billion into Africa’s drylands by 2025, with a focus on restoring degraded landscapes, improving agricultural productivity and boosting livelihoods across 11 countries of the Sahel, Lake Chad and Horn of Africa.

Commenting on the investment, World Bank Group President, David Malpass said: “This investment, which comes at a crucial time, will help improve livelihoods as countries recover from Covid-19 while also dealing with the impact of both biodiversity loss and climate change on their people and economies.”

The restoration of Africa’s degraded soils was one of the topics discussed at the Summit. Photo credit: Unsplash

Another project that received significant attention was the Great Green Wall – Africa’s main initiative to combat the increasing desertification across the continent – with European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, promising to “bolster and sponsor” the initiative.

By planting 8,000 kilometres of woodland, the initiative is expected to benefit not only the African people, but the global community as well. While the wall is only 15 per cent complete, the project is already yielding positive outcomes.

For example, the movement has helped farmers in Niger produce enough grain to feed 2.5 million people, and in Ethiopia, 15 million hectares of degraded land have been restored. The Great Green Wall is thereby contributing directly to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

French President Emmanuel Macron committed to increasing the country’s investment into IFAD. Photo credit: One Planet Summit for Biodiversity

A focus on increased investment

The Summit also saw President Macron commit to increasing France’s investment in the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) by 50 per cent, along with the launch of the ‘Terra Carta’ plan by His Royal Highness Prince Charles, an initiative devised to commit businesses to a decade of environmentalism.

The ‘Terra Carta’ aims to raise $10 billion in green investment before 2022 through the investment coalition the Natural Capital Investment Alliance.

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