Initiative 20×20 Begins in 2015

2 March, 2015 by (comments)

Representatives of various partner institutions of the Initiative 20×20 came together at CIAT, Colombia, on 12 February this year. The CIAT Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) had organized a business plan meeting to articulate the enormous financial, political, and technical efforts needed to restore 20 million hectares of degraded land in LAC by year 2020.


Among the Initiative 20×20’s institutional partners who attended were the World Resources Institute (WRI), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE), and Permian Global.

The Initiative itself was launched during the 2014 Global Landscapes Forum, alongside the 20th Conference of the Parties (COP20) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).  “Initiative 20×20 is an ambitious country-led effort,” explains Walter Vergara. The WRI climate-change specialist and Initiative leader continues: “To ensure success, it needs all the support of its partners—CIAT, CATIE, and WRI—with each exercising their own specific strengths.”

“These strengths,” says Elcio Guimarães, CIAT Regional Director of Research for LAC and the Initiative’s meeting facilitator, “include technologies, tools, databases, and scientific knowledge, depending on the human and financial resources that each partner makes available to the Initiative.” Such resources, he points out, also include the valuable multiplicity of partners and networks. He adds, “All this is a sample of the opportunities we have. It also shows we can reach this goal if we succeed in articulating strengths and balancing interests.”

The key is communication, suggests José Joaquín Campos, Director General of CATIE. “The key lies in having mutual confidence and sharing commitments. We need an open platform that facilitates timely communication and exchange of knowledge; and makes visible those opportunities in which governments and donors can invest. This is a platform for science and capacity strengthening.” He also suggests that it helps prevent the loss of enthusiasm.

The business plan was not only designed, but the decision was also made to implement it. As  Vergara indicated, the plan was to “form technical committees, mobilize funds and communication, conduct technical workshops, hold meetings with each country’s authorities to define the support needed to implement activities to meet national goals, and to conclude with economic studies and their dissemination at the World Economic Forum on Latin America, May 2015, Mexico.”

All this must be achieved without losing sight of UNFCCC’s COP21, which will be held in Paris, December 2015. At this event, messages are expected to be shared, reflecting concrete actions on the themes discussed above: the restoration of not only landscapes, but also of agriculture.

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Filed Under: Inside CIAT, Inside LAC, Latin America and the Caribbean