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The Darwin Agreement

Published 04 Jun 2021 by Kate Thorburn

Thirteen prominent Australasian environmental restoration organisations including Bush Heritage 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, referred to as the ‘Darwin Agreement’, was initiated at the Society for Ecological Restoration Australasia (SERA) conference in Darwin last month where eight major restoration organisations presented talks on what the UN Decade means for their ongoing work in restoration in Australia.

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.

There is a clear message from the United Nations Environment Program that 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 strived to build stable and successful societies. 

SERA Chair, Professor Bruce Clarkson, 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 process 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."  

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 a 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:  

A Western Pygmy Possum in hand at a Bush Heritage reserve in Western Australia's Great Southern region. A Western Pygmy Possum in hand at a Bush Heritage reserve in Western Australia's Great Southern region.
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