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Jun 12, 2012

Company Announcement: Airbus supports the IUCN’s “Plant a Pledge” campaign advocating the largest land restoration initiative ever

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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” – an online campaign to mobilise public support for the largest restoration initiative in history. The 150 million hectare target is known as the Bonn Challenge, after ministers and CEOs met last year in Germany to issue an urgent rallying cry to the global community.

“IUCN’s latest research now shows that in restoring 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested land by 2020 – which is only 15% of the estimated area of degraded forests worldwide – we would see more than US$ 84 billion net injected annually into local and global economies and cut the climate change “emissions reduction gap” by 11-17%.” said Stewart Maginnis, Director of the Nature-Based Solutions Group of IUCN. “It will make significant contributions to the global challenges we face today, alleviating poverty, slowing global warming and securing food, particularly for those who need it most.”

The campaign is calling on individuals around the world to Plant a Pledge of support through the campaign website – which will become a global petition to be delivered at the UN climate change talks in Qatar, later this year. 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,” said Andrea Debbané, 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 the Plant a Pledge Campaign we can take concrete steps towards restoring the landscape in deforested and degraded areas and repair the damage to human lives and natural resources. Achieving the restoration of 150 million hectares of former forest land around the world by 2020 - the Bonn Challenge target - will improve lives, the economy and the planet and will offer solutions to the impending climate crisis. Pledge at www.plantapledge.com and help push land restoration to the top of the political agenda.”

“With this campaign, we also hope to highlight that landscape restoration is about 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 forests managed for timber, fuel and fruit, and protected wildlife reserves, to areas managed for the protection of water supplies. The goal is to revitalise the landscapes so it can meet the needs of both people and nature, sustainably.”

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