Restoring Latin America's Landscapes


Initiative 20x20 is a country-led effort seeking to change the dynamics of land degradation in Latin America and the Caribbean by beginning to protect and restore 50 million hectares of forests, farms, pasture, and other landscapes by 2030. The initiative—launched formally at COP 20 in Lima—supports the Bonn Challenge, a global commitment to bring 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded land into restoration by 2020, and the New York Declaration on Forests that seeks to restore 350 million hectares by 2030.

So far, 18 Latin American and Caribbean countries and three regional programs have committed to begin protecting and restoring more than 52 million hectares (or about 124 million acres, an area roughly the size of France) of degraded land by 2030 through Initiative 20x20.

The initiative is supported by more than 70 technical organizations and institutions and a coalition of impact investors and private funds deploying US$2.5 billion in private investment.

Initiative 20x20 Map


To learn more about Initiative 20x20's strategy and vision, see our overview presentation.


In recent years, more than 40 percent (650 million hectares) of forests in Latin America and the Caribbean have been completely deforested or degraded. The region contains some of the most ecologically valuable forest ecosystems in the world, but recently 20% of forest lands (nearly 350 mha) have been completely deforested and a further 20% (300 mha) badly degraded. The drivers of this change include large-scale and small-scale agricultural, infrastructure, and mining. As a result, the bulk of the emissions in the Latin American region are generated not from energy but from land use, land use change, and forestry. Of the 4.7 GT emitted by Latin American and Caribbean countries in 2010, about 67 percent was from land use and loss of forests.

The initiative will support reforestation (natural and assisted) and the conservation of forests, as well as avoided deforestation as elements of an integral restoration process. Cognizant of the various degrees of land degradation in the region, the initiative will also support efforts to recover land functionality (soil conservation and recovery; carbon storage; water retention and stable hydrologies; biodiversity conservation and recovery) through agroforestry, silvopasture, and other sustainable land use schemes.

6 interventions



The World Resources Institute (WRI) is the acting secretariat within Initiative 20x20. Within WRI, the Global Restoration Initiative works with governments and international partners to inspire, enable and implement restoration on degraded landscapes, returning them to economic and environmental productivity. Connect with the secretariat to learn how to engage with Initiative 20x20.


Coordiantor for Initiative 20x20  Walter Vergara, Initiative 20x20 Coordinator


Rene Zamora Cristales  René Zamora Cristales, Latin America Research Coordinator


Luciana Gallardo Lomeli  Luciana Gallardo Lomeli, Mesoamerica Coordinator


Maria Franco Chuaire  Maria Franco Chuaire, South America Coordinator


Will Anderson  Will Anderson, Communications Lead


Mary Gronkiewicz  Mary Gronkiewicz, Project Specialist









Main activities of Initiative 20X20

  • Inspire national commitments to restoration by engaging in a robust dialogue with Ministers of Agriculture and Environment in the region;

  • Make the economic case by assessing the societal benefits from restoration and avoided deforestation; and

  • Establish a financial mechanism that allows private sector impact investors to fund restoration projects

Key Facts

  • 49% of greenhouse gas emissions in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2012 resulted from forestry, land-use change, and agriculture.

  • Latin America and the Caribbean account for about half of the world’s remaining tropical and southern temperate forests.

  • Agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean expanded onto an additional 36 million hectares since 2000. This expansion came at the expense of forests and natural landscapes.

  • Land-use activities like agriculture, animal husbandry, and forestry contribute 5 percent of the region’s GDP and about 14 percent of its employment.

  • Land restoration can increase food productivity and security for an estimated 49 million under-nourished people in Latin America and the Caribbean.