Darwin Agreement: Australasian environmental organisations urge support of UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration

Restoration planting in Sydney. Credit NSW Government.

4 June 2021, Melbourne, Australia. Fourteen prominent Australasian environmental restoration organisations today announced the formation of a consortium to collaboratively support the recommendations of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration – with more in the process of signing up.

The consortium agreement, the ‘Darwin Agreement’, was initiated at the SERA2021 Darwin conference, where eight major restoration organisations presented talks on what the UN Decade means for their ongoing work in restoration in Australia.

Professor Bruce Clarkson, Chair of the Society for Ecological Restoration Australasia (SERA), said: “This UN Decade Consortium will accelerate the sharing of knowledge and skills from all of Australia’s leading restoration organisations, each of which has a unique specialisation to offer. This sharing will enrich the practice of restoration right across the country, encouraging us all to work with natural processes to help our soils, waters and plant and animal communities recover to the extent possible.”

“Of course, restoration is a losing battle if society does not slow down and ultimately cease our degrading impacts upon the rest of nature.  So the UN Decade is as much about slowing our impacts as it is about restoration.”

Against a backdrop of environmental crises, the Consortium urges concerted support of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration by all sectors of society – policy makers, industry and communities – to retain ecosystems, reduce our impacts upon them and to repair ecosystems to optimise potential for humanity to revive the natural world that supports us all.

Restoring ecosystems creates healthy, productive landscapes where people and nature thrive. Photo credit Jesse Collins.

There is a clear message from the United Nations Environment Program who initiated the UN Decade; if we do not succeed well within the next 10 years, we lose our best chance of averting catastrophic climate change and the species loss and ecological collapse that will result. What we stand to lose is millions of plant and animal species, the livelihoods of millions of people and the lifestyles upon which previous generations have striven to build stable and successful societies.

Greening Australia’s Chief Operating Officer, Ian Rollins, said: “This next decade is pivotal for the global restoration challenge. To meet the Paris targets and avoid further global temperature increases, we need to rapidly reduce our impact and escalate ecosystem repair worldwide.”

“To achieve the scale and speed required, the true value of nature-based solutions must be recognised on the balance sheets of corporations and institutions. If we have collaborative, cross-sector investment in environmental outcomes, we can create a decade of restoration that also builds economies and communities.”

[Read Greening Australia CEO Brendan Foran’s piece on putting the eco in economy]

Each of the Consortium members has a long track record of working for environmental conservation, including ecosystem restoration, and commits to promoting the goals of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, with particular focus on:

  • Reinforcing and clarifying our common purpose to help conserve and restore Australasian ecosystems
  • Promoting public awareness of the UN Decade as a focal opportunity for integrated restorative action by all sectors of society
  • Promoting best practice ecosystem restoration
  • Supporting a united communication voice around the UN Decade

Member organisations as of 4 June 2021:

  • Australian Association of Bush Regenerators
  • Australian Coastal Restoration Network
  • Australian Network for Plant Conservation
  • Australian Seed Bank Partnership
  • Bush Heritage Australia
  • Gondwana Link
  • Great Eastern Ranges Initiative
  • Greening Australia
  • Invasive Species Council
  • Landcare Australia Ltd
  • National Landcare Network
  • Restore Australia
  • Society for Ecological Restoration Australasia
  • World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Australia

Dr Tein McDonald, Convenor of the SERA UN Decade consortium said: “For us to meet the environmental challenge of the UN Decade, all of us have a role. Whether artists, acrobats, teachers, tradies, billionaires or bankers – all of us can and must think up activities within our communities and families to celebrate, protect and restore nature, starting small and getting stronger as more people join to help. A farmer recently said to me ‘There’s a bit of green in all of us you know’ and he was spot on – now is the time for each of us to show our little bit of green.”







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