Ten golden rules for socially sustainable ecosystem restoration

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Marlène Elias, Matthew Kandel, Stephanie Mansourian, Ruth Meinzen-Dick, et al.

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The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021–2030) frames restoration as a momentous nature-based solution for achieving all of the Sustainable Development Goals. Yet, a critical void lies at the heart of this agenda: the lack of attention to social and political dimensions of nature and restoration initiatives. This gap has important implications not only for equity, but also for the sustainability of restoration. This presentation offers ten golden rules for enhancing the sustainability of ecosystem restoration by thoroughly considering and addressing socio-political dimensions of the landscapes under restoration. The contribution responds to similar guidance (di Sacco et al. 2020) that only superficially engages, if at all, with the socio-political issues that lie at the heart of restoration. The ten golden rules synthesize findings from a special issue titled ““Restoration for Whom, by Whom?”, that brings together case studies and learnings across geographies for socially inclusive restoration. The ten golden rules draw attention to: 1) recognizing the diversity of stakeholders; 2) understanding the socio-historical context, 3) examining and strengthening tenure rights, 4) engaging communities as agents of change, 5) addressing the multiple dimensions of equity, 6) emphasizing quality (over quantity) in restored ecosystems, 7) equitably distributing costs and benefits and mitigating risks, 8) recognizing diverse forms of evidence and knowledge, 9) questioning dominant discourses, and 10) practicing inclusive and holistic monitoring, learning and evaluation. This attention to power relations, distributional issues, and historical factors can help enhance the voice and agency of marginalized actors, and enhance the equity and sustainability of restoration

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

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