Solution Cluster 3.3.2

Monitoring, stakeholders and evidence; driving restoration impact

Faced with a matter of years to act and restore our food systems and ecosystems, we need to collectively make the right decisions about investments, promote the right practices and approaches, incentivize policies towards restoration, and enable the flow of finance to restore critical landscapes; engaging locally and acting globally. Those efforts should be driven by the best available scientific data, traditional knowledge, and evidence. Monitoring ecosystems and their interactions with food systems can be the basis for evidence-based decision making and can drive restoration impact; understanding how data and diverse information influences decisions, through structured stakeholder engagement can further inform and incentivize restoration efforts. This solution cluster will identify the transformative approaches and measures to sustainably restore natural ecosystems on which food systems depend – through monitoring, evidence-based knowledge sharing and inclusive stakeholder engagement processes.

We will explore the enabling socio-economic and institutional conditions which allow all actors involved in the restoration of critical landscapes, at all levels, from local to national, to readily access, and engage with, high quality fit-for-purpose data to measure their progress, inform decisions, and enable adaptive management in restoring degraded land. Accurate, and timely data on the state and change of ecosystems are critical to move from ambitious commitments to on the ground restoration impacts across global food systems. Structured and inclusive stakeholder engagement process via the SHARED approach [1], can ensure interaction between the stakeholders at all levels and gather and build the evidence from multiple sources. Targeted, methodologically sound, stakeholder engagement can cultivate an understanding of systems, greater inter-sectoral and multi-stakeholder collaboration and decisions and direct actions that overcome siloed and ad hoc approaches and integrate economic, social, and ecological dimensions. Targeted behavior science based engagement of stakeholders on the use of data, information, reporting and monitoring, can incentivize effective collaboration between stakeholders and can help towards integrated design and implementation of monitoring systems.

About this Solution Cluster

The Solution Cluster is needed to ensure quality monitoring data is available and to bridge the disconnect between various stakeholders and their engagement with evidence. Stakeholder engagement and monitoring are interconnected, can bring transparency, and feed a process that supports successful interventions and empowerment at the local level as well as attract needed investment.

With approximately 2 billion hectares of degraded land globally and commitments upward of 1 billion hectares and growing [2], through global initiatives like the Bonn Challenge, and regional initiatives like the Great Green Wall Initiative, AFR100, and Initiative 20×20, the need and ambition for restoration cannot be underestimated. Food and ecosystem studies have demonstrated that the production of food, nutrition, agriculture, and sustainable use of natural resources are intrinsically interrelated. Not only are these systems linked, but the actors, users, stakeholders, and institutions that support and benefit from the system are strongly linked. While few would argue against the existence of these inter-relationships, the deeper systems understanding of how the natural systems underpin e.g., sustainable value chains, nutrition quality, market access and diversified livelihoods remains inadequate. This has resulted in continued siloed approaches and ineffective collaboration and a lack of synergies that undermines solutions that support food systems and ecosystems. Additionally, while multiple forms of data and information exist that can link broadly under the umbrella of food systems and ecosystems, rarely are they brought together in accessible formats and within engagement processes where they can be interrogated, interpreted, and applied to decision making contexts across scales. If consistent monitoring data on restoration progress is combined with evidence from multiple sources in accessible forms, it can be analyzed by a range of stakeholders with a systems perspective. From this, better decisions can be made in terms of targeting and matching restoration practices to different places as well as during implementation, monitoring and reflection for adaptive learning. Stakeholder inclusion, structured engagement and actionable evidence are critical components of successful restoration.

Landscape restoration commitments are a relatively new phenomena and monitoring systems to measure the achievement of these restoration outcomes are nascent and need further development. No single approach or tool can capture all the nuances, but the path forward will rely on combining data and platforms to create a composite approach [3]. Different national and sub-national ministries and NGOs have been engaged in structured stakeholder engagement with evidence using the SHARED approach in Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Niger, Senegal, Ghana, Mali, Sri Lanka, India. To apply the SHARED approach, an initial needs assessment, analysis of stakeholder landscape and interactions and targeted relationship building allow for ensuring the most practical and sustainable political entry point. As a methodology that works across sectors, this means support can often be leveraged via political entities engaged in cross-sectoral planning or integration functions.

We will explore the conditions necessary to move restoration from ambition to action based on data, monitoring systems and platforms, stakeholder engagement, and evidence. The Solution Cluster will also bring together stakeholders across multiple scales to reflect on the monitoring data, along with complimentary evidence sources to look at a system and make better decisions on how restoration takes place. By implementing a structured behavior change approach across a spectrum of restoration stakeholders and scales, this solution cluster aims to create sustained and scalable capacity and rationale for implementation and investment.

The Solution Cluster will leverage several existing efforts on Monitoring, stakeholder engagement and evidence such as the Task Force on Monitoring for the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, facilitated by FAO, which brings together 100 organizations and offers an overarching coordination for monitoring through the Framework for Ecosystem Restoration Monitoring (FERM) to improve data access and transparency. Other complementary efforts, represented in the Solution Cluster, are IUCN’s Restoration Barometer, the Global Restoration Observatory, and WRI’s Land and Carbon Watch. The Cluster will also build on existing efforts, and mandates of the Rio Convention Secretariats (UNFCCC, UNCCD, CBD, Ramsar) and Land Degradation Neutrality indicators and targets.

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