As global leaders prepare to discuss the planet’s environmental issues next week in Brazil, Airbus is taking a leading role with the world’s largest restoration initiative – the Bonn Challenge – which aims to restore 150 million hectares of degraded lands by 2020.
As part of its commitment to the Challenge, Airbus and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) have launched the “Plant a Pledge” campaign, which asks people around the world to sign a petition supporting the restoration at www.plantapledge.com
The website will be officially launched prior to the Rio+20 United Nations Summit on Sustainable Development, scheduled for 20-22 June in Brazil, with this meeting focusing on developing the themes of a green economy and an institutional framework for sustainable development.
By logging on to www.plantapledge.com, the public can learn more about the Bonn Challenge initiative and sign the petition. At the IUCN World Conservation Congress in South Korea during September, a further wave of initiatives will be launched, including a Facebook game to educate and recruit more people to the Plant a Pledge website.
Other activities are to follow, leading to the petition’s delivery to world leaders at the UN Climate Change Convention at Doha in November, and the announcement of the Plant a Pledge campaign results in May 2013.
Airbus and the IUCN are hoping the petition will encourage government agencies and corporations to transform the intentions developed through the Bonn Challenge into a firm policy and strategy. Additionally, the IUCN and the Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration – which is leading the Bonn Challenge – will be working with governments and organizations to solidify commitments.
The Bonn Challenge was formed in September 2011 when government officials, business leaders and environmental experts met in Bonn, Germany and pledged to restore the 150 million hectares of land – the biggest restoration project ever proposed worldwide.
This restoration effort is expected to have positive economic and environmental results, as well as contributing to key global agreements, including Target 15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (which has the goal of restoring 15 percent of the world’s degraded eco-system by 2020); and the REDD+ agreement of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (with the goals of slowing, halting and reversing forest loss and the related emissions in developing countries.
Recent estimates have shown that in addition to the positive environmental impact, restoring the 150 million hectares of former forest land would add the equivalent of $85 billion annually into national and global economies. Regenerating and revitalizing the forests as part of landscape restoration projects would return some of capacity to sequester carbon and slow down climate change. Also, crops would be planted in areas where trees once stood, creating economic opportunities through agriculture.
Airbus’ commitment to the Bonn Challenge builds on a long history of being eco-friendly. In addition to producing highly efficient jetliners, the company supports research into alternative fuels and has developed an aggressive plan to help reduce CO2 emissions up to 50 percent by the year 2050.