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12.06.2012 Africa

Airbus Supports IUCN's "Plant a Pledge" Campaign for Largest Land Restoration Initiative Ever

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LONDON, June 12, 2012/PRNewswire via African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Africa offers world's biggest potential for forest and land restoration across over 715 million hectares

Ahead of the Rio+20 Earth Summit, campaign ambassador Bianca Jagger, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Airbus launched today "Plant a Pledge" - a campaign to mobilise support for the largest restoration initiative in history.

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The 150 million hectare target is known as the Bonn Challenge, after ministers and CEOs met last year to issue an urgent rallying cry to the global community.

"IUCN's latest research now shows that restoring 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested land by 2020 would see over US$84 billion net injected annually into local and global economies and cut the climate change "emissions reduction gap" by 11-17%.", says Stewart Maginnis, Director, of IUCN's Nature-Based Solutions Group. "It will make significant contributions to the global challenges we face today, alleviating poverty, slowing global warming and securing food."

The campaign calls on individuals around the world to Plant a Pledge of support through the campaign website - which will become a global petition delivered at the 2012 UN climate change talks in Qatar.

Each online pledge asks governments, private landowners and communities who manage lands to commit areas for restoration in order to achieve the Bonn Challenge by 2020.

The Global Partnership for Forest Landscape Restoration (GPFLR), who along with the German government hosted the original Bonn Challenge meeting, recently identified two billion hectares of land worldwide - an area the size of South America - as offering opportunities for forest landscape restoration. Repairing landscapes would restore their ability to support people and wildlife and would significantly increase global capacity to process greenhouse gases, according to IUCN.

"Improving fuel efficiency is at the heart of our business and we have reduced emissions by 70% in the last 40 years. Aviation today represents 2% of manmade emissions and we are continuing to improve the efficiency of our industry to reduce this, having invested over two billion Euros in environmental research and development, this year alone. The partnership with the IUCN reflects our commitment to support those tackling the other 98 percent," says Andrea Debbane, Airbus Vice President of Environment Affairs. "Landscape restoration reduces net emissions by increasing carbon storage and is a practical, sustainable solution to many issues facing the planet, people and the economy".

"For over thirty years I have campaigned for human rights and environmental protection. These issues may seem unrelated, but their causes, and their solutions, are interconnected", said Bianca Jagger, campaign ambassador, and Founder and Chair of the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation. "With Plant a Pledge we can take concrete steps towards restoring the landscape and repair the damage to human lives and natural resources. Achieving the Bonn Challenge target - will improve lives, the economy and the planet and will offer solutions to the impending climate crisis. Pledge at and help push land restoration to the top of the political agenda."

"Landscape restoration is so much more than just planting trees", says Carole Saint-Laurent, IUCN's Senior Policy Officer for Forest Landscape Restoration. "A restored landscape allows for different land uses to coexist: from agriculture to areas managed for the protection of water supplies. The goal is to revitalise landscapes so that they can meet the needs of both people and nature, sustainably."

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Photo: Source: AIRBUS/IUCN

Please contact Good Relations: Ellie Backhouse: Phone: +44(0)20-7861-3014, Mobile: +44(0)7717-542-247, [email protected]

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