US$100 million over four years toward the target of $500 million to train and invest in community-based organizations and small enterprises to restore degraded land across Africa
VANCOUVER, CANADA April 17, 2023 At TED2023, the Audacious Project announced that World Resources Institute (WRI)’s Restore Local project will be awarded $100 million over four years to accelerate locally led land restoration in three African landscapes: the Lake Kivu & Rusizi River Basin area, the Cocoa Belt of Ghana and Greater Rift Valley of Kenya.This investment is aligned with anchor funding from the Bezos Earth Fund of $50 million and the ambitious goals of the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100), a partnership of 33 African governments with the African Union Development Agency (AUDANEPAD) as its secretariat.This $150 million achieves 30% of the fundraising target of $500 million for philanthropy.
With support through The Audacious Project, Restore Local will make direct investments in local community-based organizations and small and medium enterprises to accelerate restoration activities on the ground, deepen their knowledge and skills, propose and implement supportive policies, and monitor their impact. It will contribute to AFR100’s continent-wide mission to restore 100 million hectares of degraded and deforested land by 2030, as well as various government commitments in each country.
Housed within TED, a non-profit organization that aims to help create a future worth pursuing for all,The Audacious Project selects a cohort of projects every year that represent bold solutions to the challenges facing the world. By connecting these ambitious ideas with an inspiring group of donors and supporters,The Audacious Project helps these big ideas scale up more quickly and amplify the overall impact of their work.
“I am honored that Restore Local was selected for catalytic funding through The Audacious Project, which is a clear signal of confidence in locally led action,” said Wanjira Mathai,WRI’s Managing Director, Africa and Global Partnerships. “Restoration is one of the most powerful investments we can make on the planet because restoring degraded land can simultaneously mitigate climate change and cushion communities against the worst impacts.It can also replenish soil productivity, create jobs and improve family incomes.”
“Restore Local is a bold plan to bring the land back to optimal health, by supporting local tree-growing champions,” said Anna Verghese, Executive Director,The Audacious Project.”We look forward to partnering with this locally led movement to enhance restoration activities, monitoring, and policy work.This investment reflects our deep confidence in the restoration movement, not just for land, but to benefit livelihoods and expand economically viable opportunities throughout the African continent.”
The $100 million investment, mobilized with support through The Audacious Project and the Climate Leadership Initiative, will join existing contributions to the African restoration movement and build towards the goal of developing a $2 billion fund. Announced at COP27, the fund is managed by Southbridge Investments and anchored by the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), blending $500 million of concessional finance with $1.5 billion of private investment.
“Restore Local is a beacon of possibility for people, nature, and climate together.” said Ani Dasgupta, CEO of World Resources Institute.”This investment will not only help communities restore their landscapes and effectively build climate resilience but can also start to fundamentally transform the lives of a majority of people who rely on land for their food and livelihoods on the Africa continent.The innovation here is a hyper-local yet scalable approach that many other regions can learn from around the world.”
WRI and its partners, One Tree Planted and Realize Impact, have already begun this work through TerraFund for AFR100, thanks to the support of eight donors – AKO Foundation, the Bezos Earth Fund, Caterpillar Foundation, Doen Foundation, GiveOne, Good Energies Foundation, Lyda Hill Foundation and Meta.In its first cohort in 2022, the program invested in 100 community organizations and entrepreneurs that restore land across 27 countries – and catalogues the training that they needed to expand their work.Through the TerraMatch platform, the progress of each project is closely tracked through a combination of reports submitted by local organizations, independent field verification, and satellite monitoring.
“Africa’s restoration movement is at a positive tipping point,” said Dr. Andrew Steer, President and CEO of the Bezos Earth Fund.”We are proud to stand with other philanthropic partners in support of locally led restoration.With the right capital, capacity, and connections, these local leaders can change the trajectory of global climate and biodiversity crises.”
Efforts are underway to secure the remaining $350 million in grant funding required to reach the goal of $500 million.This funding will build greater momentum towards public and private finance, enabling local restoration activities to expand and scale up across landscapes in Africa.