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SER International Policy Update

Tuesday, January 8, 2019  
Posted by: Rebecca Shoer
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The Society was very busy with international policy activities in the second half of 2018. We spent the majority of the year working on a major revision to the 2016 International Standards for the Practice of Ecological Restoration (the Standards). SER’s Global Restoration Ambassador/Science and Policy Committee Chair George Gann has been leading the revision process, with strong support from SER-Australasia’s Tein McDonald and a writing team of nearly a dozen other volunteers from across the globe. The draft revision has been out for substantial review and we expect to release version two of the Standards sometime in the first quarter of 2019.

During the fourth quarter, George also led development of a new capacity-building product to support the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Short Term Action Plan on Ecosystem Restoration (STAPER). SER partnered with CBD to develop an implementation support tool based on case studies, resources, and syntheses of the biodiversity considerations related to restoration. SER presented a beta version of the tool at two different events during the 14th CBD Conference of the Parties (COP14) in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt in November 2018. George made the first presentation on November 19, and SER Board Chair Jim Hallett presented it a second time at the Rio Pavilions forest restoration day on November 27. The new tool links between the CBD’s Forest Ecosystem Restoration Initiative (FERI) website and SER’s Restoration Resource Center (RRC) – pulling from a wide variety of case studies and resources to help illustrate how the STAPER can be implemented. As new case studies and resources are uploaded that are relevant to different components of the STAPER, SER will be able to tag those to continually update the STAPER support tool. The STAPER support tool is not quite ready for public use, but we expect it to be live and accessible within the first quarter of 2019. In addition to SER’s participation in the CBD COP14, SER Board Vice Chair Al Unwin participated in several of the pre-meetings leading up to the COP14 in Montreal, Canada, including an all-day session related to the Intergovernmental SciencePolicy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.

Board Chair Jim Hallett also represented SER in Bonn, Germany at the Global Partnership on Forest and Landscape Restoration (GPFLR), and at the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF). In addition, he gave a presentation at the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) main office in Bonn about SER’s standards, our expanding work in drylands ecosystems, and other areas of common interest. SER has also been working closely with the World Wildlife Fund’s Landscape Finance Lab, Ecosystem Services Partnership and others on a new project related to an “integrated ecosystem ratings system.” We were pleased to see this project featured, with a short presentation by Simone Quatrini, during one of the concurrent sessions at the GLF as well.

Bethanie Walder and Claudia Padilla

SER Executive Director Bethanie Walder met with partners from The Nature Conservancy and other entities at the Reef Futures 2018 conference in Florida to discuss opportunities to build stronger relationships with coral reef and marine restoration advocates. This conversation was built on more than a year of ongoing discussions both within SER-Australasia and with TNC’s Reef Resilience network about expanding these partnerships. We look forward to continuing to build this relationship and to ensure lessons learned in terrestrial-based restoration can be applied to marine work as well. Along those lines, we were thrilled to see Astrid Daniela Santana Cisneros, from Inapesca in Mexico presenting at Reef Futures about how Inapesca is adapting the Recovery Wheel in the Standards to be used in reef restoration projects (her colleague Claudia Padilla made a similar presentation at SER2017). It was exciting to see how that work has advanced over the past year, and how it so clearly illustrates that the Standards are applicable in any type of ecosystem.