Darwin Agreement to support UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration

Fourteen prominent Australasian environmental restoration organisations announce the formation of a consortium to collaboratively support the recommendations of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration – with more in the process of signing up. 

The consortium agreement, referred to as the ‘Darwin Agreement’, was initiated at the SERA2021 Darwin conference where eight major restoration organisations presented talks on what the UN Decade means for their ongoing work in restoration in Australia. 

Against a backdrop of environmental crises, the Consortium urges concerted support of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration by all sectors of society – policy makers, industry and communities –  to retain ecosystems, reduce our impacts upon them and to repair ecosystems to optimise potential for humanity to revive the natural world that supports us all. 

There is a clear message from the United Nations Environment Program who initiated the UN Decade; if we do not succeed well within the next 10 years, we lose our best chance of averting catastrophic climate change and the species loss and ecological collapse that will result.  What we stand to lose is millions of plant and animal species, the livelihoods of millions of people and the lifestyles upon which previous generations have strived to build stable and successful societies.

Each of the Consortium members has a long track record of working for environmental conservation including ecosystem restoration and commits to promoting the goals of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, with particular focus on: 

  • Reinforcing and clarifying our common purpose to help conserve and restore Australasian ecosystems 
  • Promoting public awareness of the UN Decade as a focal opportunity for integrated restorative action by all sectors of society
  • Promoting best practice ecosystem restoration 
  • Supporting a united communication voice around the UN Decade

Member organisations: 

  • Australian Association of Bush Regenerators
  • Australian Coastal Restoration Network
  • Australian Network for Plant Conservation 
  • Australian Seed Bank Partnership
  • Bush Heritage Australia
  • Gondwana Link
  • Great Eastern Ranges Initiative
  • Greening Australia
  • Invasive Species Council
  • Landcare Australia Ltd
  • National Landcare Network
  • Restore Australia
  • Society for Ecological Restoration Australasia
  • World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Australia

LIVE QUOTES:

Prof. Bruce Clarkson, Chair of SERA, said: 

“This UN Decade Consortium will accelerate the sharing of knowledge and skills from all of Australia’s leading restoration organisations, each of which has a unique specialisation to offer.” 

“This sharing will enrich the practice of restoration right across the country, encouraging us all to work with natural process to help our soils, waters and plant and animal communities recover to the extent possible. “

”Of course, restoration is a losing battle if society does not slow down and ultimately cease our degrading impacts upon the rest of nature.  So the UN Decade is as much about slowing our impacts as it is about restoration ” 

2. Prof Kingsley Dixon, Incoming Chair of the parent body SER (Society for Ecological Restoration) and planning participant in the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration said:

“From grassroots communities to corporations, the Decade is our last chance to reverse land degradation and rebuild our soils and biodiversity for the health of the nation”.  “Few other human endeavours are more critical than to hand over to future generations restored land, soils and biodiversity that will save species, build healthy landscapes and ensure nature for all”

Ian Rollins, Greening Australia’s Chief Operating Officer, said: 

“This next decade is pivotal for the global restoration challenge. To meet the Paris targets and avoid further global temperature increases, we need to rapidly reduce our impact and escalate ecosystem repair worldwide. To achieve the scale and speed required, the true value of nature must be recognised on the balance sheets of corporations and institutions. If we have collaborative, cross-sector investment in environmental outcomes, we can create a decade of restoration that also builds economies and communities.”

Peter Dixon, President of the Australian Association of Bush Regenerators is positive about what could be achieved through the Decade.  He said: “The recent drought, fires, floods and extreme weather events have brought the topics of climate change and human impacts on the natural environment firmly into the mainstream; both the media and the community’s consciousness. “

“We have the opportunity right now where we have much of the knowledge of what is needed to restore Australia’s ecosystems and make them more resilient. We have many of the structures in place to be able to deliver that restoration, through NGOs and community movements such as Landcare. We have the groundswell of people, companies and organisations that want to assist. To achieve the potential of the Decade however, we need the governments of Australia to come on board to meaningfully support this initiative through adequate and sustained funding, managing threats on their own lands and improving their legislation and regulation through an evidence-based review”.

Dr Tein McDonald, Convenor of the SERA UN Decade consortium said: 

‘For us to meet the environmental challenge of the UN Decade all of us have a role. Whether artists, acrobats, teachers, tradies, billionaires or bankers – all of us can and must think up activities within our communities and families to celebrate, protect and restore nature, starting small and getting stronger as more people join to help. A farmer recently said to me ‘There’s a bit of green in all of us you know’ and he was spot on – and now is the time for each of us to show our little bit of green.”

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