• 3 June 2020
  • 14:00-18:00

Soils as keystone for food security and ecosystem restoration

The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration offers the much-needed opportunity to align efforts by policy communities that too often operate in silos. Given the magnitude of the challenge to restore our ecosystems, a failure to cooperate would aggravate the risk of not achieving SDG 15 by 2030. Against this backdrop, this session unites representatives from land restoration programs, sustainable soil management, and rights-based land governance. In terms of actors, this segment focuses on the role of smallholder farmers as central actors in promoting restoration activities. This segment explores how to create an enabling environment for restoration activities, in particular by smallholders. It is divided in the following three sessions.

This session is organised under TMG’s SEWOH Lab project (2020-2024). The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).


Soils and the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration LIVE NOW

The draft strategy of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration outlines three broad pathways: generating a global movement, fostering political support, and building technical capacities. Together, they should provide an environment in which restoration initiatives start and scale up across the planet. Creating this “restoration culture” and acting upon it, is both a technical as well as a political challenge: vested interests need to be overcome and different technical capacities are needed.

This session addresses both of these necessary actions: It brings together representatives from three different technical communities to discuss their respective contributions to achieve inclusive ecosystem restoration. What are the focus areas to make ecosystem restoration happen and benefit food insecure people and those most vulnerable? It further discusses ways to create the alliances between the different constituencies for a joint empowered position.


  • Learn from relevant projects to determine how the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration can contribute to creating an enabling environment for smallholder farmers to become stewards of restoration
  • Explore the role of soils in increasing the adaptive capacity of smallholder farmers
  • Discuss pathways to ensure that restoration measures consider tenure rights
  • Identify strategic areas of cooperation to design and implement programmes for an inclusive UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration
– Annalisa Mauro, Global Network Coordinator, International Land Coalition (ILC)
– Susan Chomba, Project Manager, The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)
– Martin Yemefack, Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils, Global soil Partnership
– Concluding remarks: Tim Christophersen, Head of Nature for Climate Branch, UN Environment (UNEP)Facilitated by Alexander Müller, Managing Director, TMG Research

Main Session: Soils as keystone for food security and ecosystem restoration

Soil Organic Carbon: How can smallholder farming communities benefit from carbon sequestration projects? LIVE NOW

Financing restoration at scale remains one of the key challenges. Payments for ecosystem services and payments for soil organic carbon enhancements (SOC) are increasingly discussed as one way to channel resources to restoration efforts. SOC payments are a comparatively new instrument. The SOC payment schemes can therefore learn from experiences of REDD+ projects. Given the overall focus of this segment, this session will reflect on how soil organic carbon projects can benefit smallholder farming communities and reward them for their restoration activities. Our panellists will share insights into REDD+ initiatives and will discuss how these experiences can inform the design and implementation of SOC projects. Particular attention will be given to explore enabling environments, and if and how digital and social innovations can play a role here.

– Amy Duchelle, Team Leader – Climate Change, Energy & Low-Carbon, CIFOR / ICRAF
– Leigh Winowiecki, Soil and Land Health Leader, CIFOR / ICRAF
– Amos Wekesa, Environment and Climate Change Advisor, Vi Agroforestry

Facilitated by Sarah D’haen, Project Coordinator, TMG Research

Main Session: Soils as keystone for food security and ecosystem restoration

“Measuring Progress” on Gender & Land Tenure LIVE NOW

Responsible land governance is key to provide the right incentives for restoration and to make restoration benefits reaching those who invested in it. Insecure land rights by women continue to pose a challenge in this regard. At the last UNCCD COP, parties to the convention took the landmark decision to acknowledge the centrality of the Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Land Governance for achieving Land Degradation Neutrality. At the same time, project implementers often claim that restoration projects become too complex, if they are to include land governance components also. Part of the GLF’s “Measuring Progress” learning track, this session will present community-driven social innovations for the recognition of land rights of women in Kenya and Burkina Faso: intra-household tenure agreements and community-led land lease guidelines. Given their strong reliance on communities in the implementation, these social innovations can be implemented in the context of restoration activities.

– Violet Shivutse, Founder and Coordinator, Shibuye Community Health Workers
– Larissa Stiem-Bhatia, Project Coordinator, TMG Research
– Marcos Montoiro, NGO and Civil Society Liaison Officer, UNCCD Secretariat

Facilitated by Jes Weigelt, Head of Programmes, TMG Research

Main Session: Soils as keystone for food security and ecosystem restoration