Cameroon has committed to restoring over 12 million hectares of deforested and degraded land by 2030 as part of the Bonn Challenge initiative, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has announced.
The initiative is a global effort to restore 150 million hectares by 2020, and more than double that to 350 million by 2030. The pledge is the biggest to date in the Congo Basin, home to the world’s second-largest tropical rain forest, and brings the 2020 goal into range with a total of 148 million hectares pledged.
“Forty-six per cent of Cameroon is covered in forests that are highly regarded for their biodiversity,” said Philip Ngole Ngwese, Cameroon’s Minister of Forestry and Wildlife. “In recent years, we have seen an upward trend in deforestation and degradation. Restoring these valuable ecosystems will help us protect our natural heritage and contribute to our carbon reduction targets.”
Deforestation is among the biggest contributors to global greenhouse gas emissions, and the Bonn Challenge pledge brings Cameroon closer to cutting carbon emissions by 32 percent. Reaching that goal by 2035 is part of the country’s Paris Agreement commitment, announced by President Paul Biya at the COP21 in Paris.
Cameroon’s pledge will also contribute to the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100), which aims to bring 100 million hectares under restoration by 2030 through the Bonn Challenge and concurrent programs.
Cameroon is one of 18 African nations committed to the two initiatives.