December 18, 2020

Integrated Landscape Strategies to Reach Post 2020 Biodiversity Conservation Goals: Highlights of the FAO-EcoAgriculture Partners High-Level Landscape Dialogue

Tom Derr

In 2010 the Aichi Targets set the stage for what was supposed to be the ‘United Nations Decade for Biodiversity.’ Aiming for bold action, the Aichi Targets were set to provide a strategic plan for addressing the underlying causes of biodiversity loss. With 2020 coming to a close the Global Biodiversity Outlook 5 stocktaking report released early this year came to the difficult recognition that the world failed to meet even one of Aichi Targets. 

In light of the previous decade, establishing post-2020 biodiversity goals and strategy to redirect our trajectory towards the 2050 goal of ‘Living in Harmony with Nature’ is critical. The 15th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is scheduled to take up this task in 2021 in Kunming, China. 

On December 7th EcoAgriculture Partners, led by Sara Scherr, and FAO North America, led by Vimlendra Sharan, jointly hosted a virtual High-Level Landscape Dialogue on how integrated landscape management (ILM) can be incorporated into the post-2020 Biodiversity Framework. The distinguished speakers shared their visions for practical action at policy and field levels to reverse biodiversity decline in landscapes around the world, in a sprint over the next decade. For more information about the event you can access the agenda and information about the panelists, the event recording, the notes from the chat and the full report of the event, which involved more than 400 participants from over 50 countries.

Key levers for upscaling Integrated Landscape Management to achieve the post-2020 global biodiversity goals

The keynote address of the Dialogue was given by Midori Paxton, Head of Ecosystems and Biodiversity at UNDP, who opened the conversation with a quote from UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres stating, “making peace with nature is the defining task of the 21st century. It must be the top priority for everyone everywhere.” To achieve this, Paxton emphasized the importance of integrated approaches for reaching biodiversity goals and offered four key levers for accelerating ILM:

  1. Policy institutional coherence: perhaps the most fundamental, aligning policy actions across government levels and ministries is critical to creating a “unity of purpose” around shared biodiversity conservation goals. 
  2. Conducive incentive structure: actors at the local level need to be incentivized to conserve and promote biodiversity and recognize the benefits it has to them. 
  3. Multisectoral landscape platform models: multisectoral platforms are necessary for bringing together diverse stakeholder groups (government, local communities, indigenous groups, producers, private sector, etc.) to facilitate the creation of integrated land use management plans structured around shared goals. 
  4. Institutional and individual capacity: Capacity building is central to enabling action and commitment over long timeframes while fostering strong relationships across stakeholders. 

Activating these levers will scale ILM as a catalyst for achieving biodiversity goals. Paxton consequently acknowledged the 1000 Landscapes for 1 Billion People initiative, of which UNDP is a lead partner, for its potential to “build an infrastructure to ensure access to the tools, finance and connections land managers need to achieve holistic, long-term and ultimately successful management of their landscapes.”

Closing her address, Paxton stressed “the war on nature has to end. It’s time to make peace with nature. After all, we are not fighting an enemy, we are fighting our most important ally.”

Implementing biodiversity conservation through integrated landscape management: Lessons from the field for the post-2020 Biodiversity Framework

Mike Parr of the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) and Marco Cerezo of FUNDAECO brought the conversation to the field and both recognized the importance of traditional conservation methods, like protected areas, for their role in supporting biodiversity. But Parr acknowledged, “as a bird conservationist, I recognize that protected areas alone will not be sufficient to conserve birds” when in actuality birds are very dependent on large landscapes including agricultural lands for migratory purposes and habitat. 

For the past 25 years, Cerezo and FUNDAECO have implemented integrated landscape management (ILM) in the biodiversity-rich area of The Conservation Coast of Guatemala with great success. They have gradually established a mosaic of lands for different purposes while simultaneously promoting livelihoods and creating permanent forest cover. Cerezo remarked on the importance of blended finance, strong territorial governance and the fostering of public-private-people initiatives to push forward their activities. To reach the post-2020 biodiversity goals globally, examples like The Conservation Coast will have to be replicated extensively. 

Strategies for incorporating ILM into the post-2020 Biodiversity Framework 

Jyoti Mathur-Filipp, Director of the Implementation and Support Division at the Secretariat of the CBD, described how the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework aims to bring us to a 2050 vision of living in harmony with nature, prioritizing a set of 2030 targets for putting us on the right track. She strongly recommended that “biodiversity for food and agriculture is indispensable to food security and sustainable development.” Speaking to the need for global collaboration, Mathur-Filipp also emphasized the post-2020 Biodiversity Framework is “a framework for all” and an “opportunity to bring together actors, stakeholders and rights holders to address these challenges together.”

Irene Hoffmann, Secretary of FAO’s Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, reiterated the call for collaboration around the framework, not just its development but its tangible implementation. Hoffmann discussed the importance of harmonizing confusing terminology in topics like ILM so that information and the practical application of integrated approaches can reach producers and those who stand to benefit from them the most. 

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1 Comment

  • Justus Lavi Mwololo
    December 24, 2020 at 11:24am

    We are Kenya Small Scale Farmers Forum KESSFF a registered grassroots village based membership network of Small Scale Farmers SSFs and part of a similar larger regional network for East Central and South African countries ESAFF.
    We are interested in Runoff Rain Water Harvesting Projects RRWHP at the household grassroots village level especially in the Arid and Semi Arid Lands ASAL whose water harvested is being used for both WASH and Agricultural purposes.

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