In recognition of his long-standing involvement and interest in restoration in Asia, Nigel Tucker was selected by the Society for Ecological Restoration to provide technical expertise and input at a Convention on Biological Diversity workshop in Bangkok, Thailand. The workshop drew participants from 26 Asian nations, the FAO and World Resources Institute to discuss capacity building in terms of restoration expertise in Asia, as nations look to meet their commitments to Aichi Targets 5 and 15. Mr. Tucker gave an address on Day 1 of the 5 day meeting detailing the challenges faced by Asian nations as they move to restore 15% of degraded landscapes within their national borders by 2020. On Day 5, Mr. Tucker moderated a panel discussion on ways to encourage private investment in the restoration sector.
Restoring Asia’s mega diversity is an enormous challenge. Poverty and land-use conflict are major barriers to be overcome before issues such as technical expertise and funding for restoration can be addressed, and restoration can begin to counter the effects of habitat loss and fragmentation. During the workshop several participants gave stark reminders of the perilous state of Asia’s forests. Particularly poignant were presentations on the state of Indonesia’s peatlands, whose burning contributes significantly to global warming. The UN/CBD have conducted similar workshops in Latin America and later in 2016 will host a meeting in the Pacific region, as Small Island Developing States (SIDS) develop their own strategies to meet Aichi Biodiversity Targets.