An action plan to promote the recovery of terrestrial, marine and coastal ecosystems in Latin America and the Caribbean over the next decade has been launched.
The plan, which aims to revert the negative impacts of degradation that are already underway as well as those that are likely to emerge in the near future, is in line with the UN Decade on Ecosystem restoration, a global initiative to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems worldwide.
The Decade, which was introduced by the Government of El Salvador, is led by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
According to UNEP, the region is particularly rich in terms of biodiversity, with seven of the most diverse countries in the world, however, despite protecting 24.2% of its land and 17.5% of its marine areas, many ecosystems have been significantly degraded.
Ecosystem restoration includes a wide continuum of activities, including enhancing organic carbon in agricultural soils, increasing fish stocks in overfished zones, remediating polluted sites and restoring ecological processing and biodiversity.
Leo Heileman, UNEP Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean said: “Healthy ecosystems underpin sustainable development. With the adoption of this Action Plan, Latin American and Caribbean countries will have better conditions and more effective co-operation mechanisms to recover their ecosystems, halt biodiversity loss and to advance regionally towards the 2050 vision of living in harmony with nature.
“Globally, the economic benefits of restoration interventions are up to 10 times greater than the size of the investments required. On the other hand, inaction can be up to three times more costly.”