Alianza por el Millón: Panama's Restoration Movement
About the project:
Panama has set an ambitious goal of restoring 1 million hectares from 2015 to 2035. To act on that commitment, the government has joined the Alianza por el Millón, a public-private partnership led by the Ministry of Environment (MiAmbiente) and consisting of civil society organizations, the government and the private sector. The Alliance is restoring land through four approaches: natural forest conservation, the restoration of forests in riparian areas, the restoration of degraded lands, and sustainable commercial forestry.
Since the program began, more than 5 million native trees have been planted throughout the country, with a survival rate of 70%. Thanks to this work, restoration has begun on over 40,000 hectares of degraded and deforested land. Restoring over 13% of the country's total land area is daunting, but the Alliance is critical to meeting Panama's climate goals. Boosting tree cover on the 37% of Panama's land that is degraded will sequester carbon and provide a host of ecosystem services. But that's not all; the social and economic benefits are also massive.
In June 2014, the Chamber of Commerce and Industries of Panama (CCIP), working with civil society partners, formed the alliance because private sector leaders believed that restoring degraded land can make good business sense. They joined the National Reforestation and Allied Association of Panama (ANARAP), the National Association for the Conservation of Nature (ANCON), and other civil society organizations. On October 15 of that year, Panama's President, Juan Carlos Varela, signed an agreement with CCIP, ANARAP, and ANCON to kickstart the Alliance, with support from the ministries of environment, agricultural development, and commerce.
The Alliance, supported by several techinical partners like CATIE, has hosted several tree-planting days, held webinars on encouraging a business approach to restoration, and participated in a regional workshop on monitoring run by technical partner GIZ. Panama has also become a critical partner of Initiative 20x20, in which it consistently participates and exchanges best practices with other partners.
Since 2015, the Alliance has hosted an annual National Day of Reforestation, where Panamanians plant trees and learn about the benefits of healthy and resilient forests. During the 2018 event alone, almost 50,000 volunteers planted 78,000 trees. President Valera highlighted that restoring Panama is critical to the growth of the country's burgeoning ecotourism industry and for the implementation of both the National Strategy for Mitigation and Adaptation to Climate Change and the National Water Security Plan 2015-2050. In the future, the Alliance will continue to work with civil society groups, local communities, the government, and private investors to scale up landscape restoration throughout Panama.