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5 December 2016

21 nations have pledged to restore over 63 million hectares in Africa, the size of Madagascar, yet...We cannot do this alone!

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Exactly one year ago the AFR100 (the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative) was launched to restore 100 million hectares of land in Africa by 2030.
Formally launched at COP 21 in Paris, it will contribute to the Bonn Challenge, and the New York Declaration on Forests with the goal of adapting to and mitigating climate change. It is now gaining momentum with 21 nations having pledged to restore over 63 million hectares, the size of Madagascar.

WeForest is contributing in several countries. It remains a huge challenge and no one can do this alone.

After consulting with local players to define the strategy, restoration methodology, the scientific research needed to make the projects stronger and the mechanisms to engage local communities, WeForest engages local partners to carry-out an important part of the work.

Typically these local partners hire and train employees, engage local stakeholders, buy seeds, grow seedlings, transplant the seedlings, care for the new trees and deliver reports. Our audits and monitoring are opportunities to verify assumptions and take corrective measures, when needed. It is however not just about planting trees.

People working in the restoration projects must benefit in different ways to continue protecting the forest in the long term, for example by

  • Getting a job (empowering mostly women out of poverty)
  • Being trained in sustainable biomass harvesting without damaging the trees,
  • Using efficient wood stoves that we subsidise to reduce firewood consumption,
  • Receiving beehives to generate additional income,
  • Etc..

​A whole new economy is developed when you plan it well. The funding remains the limiting factor and creativity is needed. If all the major hotels in the world (Hilton, Marriott, Accor, Wyndham, Best Western, CHI, IHG... ) funded 1 tree for every reservation for example, if would take us less than 10 years to finance the restoration of these 100 million hectares in Africa! And what about all the other products and services we consume? Restoring our forests is our only chance to remain under the 1,5°C temperature increase.

And we are running out of time.

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Marie-Noëlle Keijzer

Co-founder, vice-president of the board, Board Member WeForest France, and CEO
Marie Noëlle provides strategic guidance to the organization. As a multilingual social entrepreneur with 22 years of experience in senior corporate leadership in Supply Chain, CSR and business transformation, she offers expertise in business development, strategy, marketing, communication, advocacy and public speaking. She holds a master's degree in Environmental Science from the ULB, Belgium, a master's degree in Business Administration from IADE, Spain and is a member of Al Gore's Climate reality Corps.