December 17, 2015

Paris Action: Moving the landscape conversation from awareness to implementation

Sara ScherrEcoAgriculture Partners

Capitalizing on global momentum for action on climate and sustainable development, EcoAgriculture Partners pushed the integrated landscape management conversation forward.

Our efforts were concentrated on the third annual Global Landscapes Forum, COP21’s largest side event, which draws attention to a long-neglected factor in the climate change discussion, Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Uses (AFOLU, in climate negotiator-speak). The two-day event this year, held at the Palais de Congrès de Paris, welcomed nearly 4000 participants for a variety of fascinating discussions, plenary presentations, performances, and media events.

A little book with a big audience

A highlight for EcoAgriculture Partners was the launch of the Little Sustainable Landscapes Book, at a packed “launchpad” media event. The seventh in a series of “Little Books” from the Global Canopy Programme, aimed at climate negotiators and land use policy makers, this beautiful publication aims to clarify and disseminate sustainable landscape management methods, and to catalyze their implementation across private and public sectors worldwide. The Little Book will soon be available in French, Bahasa-Indonesia, with translation into Spanish and Portuguese also in the works.  Seth Shames and I from EcoAgriculture joined an esteemed author group including Paul Chatterton from the World Wide Fund for Nature, Lex Hovani from the Nature Conservancy, Nienke Stam from IDH – The Sustainable Trade Initiative, and Louisa Denier, from the Global Canopy Programme. Watch the launchpad event:

African action plan animates resilient landscapes initiative

Also especially exciting was the culmination of a year and half of advocacy and outreach that resulted in the formal inclusion of the African Landscapes Action Plan in the declaration and agreement of the African Resilient Landscapes Initiative by the African Union’s NEPAD agency. In July 2014, hundreds of experts from across Africa produced the action plan as a set of concrete steps that civil society, the private sector and governments could take to improve governance, capacity, finance and policy to support truly sustainable development outcomes at landscape scale across the continent. The Action Plan will support the implementation of the African Resilient Landscapes Initiative and a companion commitment from governments and financiers, also cited in the African Resilient Landscapes Initiative declaration, to restore 100 million hectares of degraded land by 2030. The AFR100, as the initiative is called, is spearheaded by our friends at the Global Restoration Initiative of World Resources Institute.

We were also honored to have EcoAgriculture’s work over the past 10 years with NEPAD’s TerrAfrica program on sustainable landscape management highlighted at TerrAfrica’s 10th Anniversary celebration. We are excited to announce that we will be a core technical partner with them in their new 2016-20 Business Plan on Sustainable Landscape Management.

New papers show policymakers path to sustainable development goals

We worked with numerous Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative partners to debut, in very well-attended and engaging sessions at the Global Landscapes Forum, two complementary white papers: Landscape Partnerships for Sustainable Development and Scaling Up Investment & Finance for Integrated Landscape Management.

Landscape Partnerships was launched in a special session at the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative’s thematic pavilion on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, featuring two of the report’s authors, Edoardo Zandri of UNEP, and Melissa Thaxton of EcoAgriculture Partners. A packed crowd engaged in a lively discussion focused on next steps to engage policymakers to include landscape approaches in national or sub-national sustainable development plans to integrate action to achieve multiple SDGs. The session closed with a showing of a video summarizing the paper’s key messages, produced jointly by UNEP and EcoAgriculture Partners on behalf of the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative. Watch the video:

Scaling Up Investment & Finance for Integrated Landscape Management debuted during a discussion forum, before an audience of nearly 100 in a standing-room-only conference room. Lead author Seth Shames presented the paper, on innovations that have been developed by diverse financial institutions to invest in integrated landscape investments, and priorities for advancing investment at scale. This served as a launching point for commentary from Clement Chenost, co-founder of Moringa Fund, Gustavo Garduno, expert on regional analysis for the Biological Corridors Initiative of CONABIO, Ludwig Liagre, international consultant on forest and landscape restoration finance for the Global Mechanism, Maryam Niamir-Fuller, special advisor to the UNEP executive director, and Nienke Stam, senior manager at the Initiative for Sustainable Landscapes. I then moderated a very lively discussion session, with comments and questions from financiers, investors, policymakers, and climate negotiators.

Both papers were published by EcoAgriculture Partners on behalf of the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative. Seth’s presentation is on slideshare:

Beyond education to implementation

It is remarkable how the discourse at the Global Landscapes Forum, and in the international sustainable development and climate communities, has shifted over just the past two years from a “what’s this landscape thing?” conversation to a “how do we do this landscape thing?” conversation. Discussion forums, pavilion sessions, lunchtime learning events, nearly every event at the GLF focused on how we move from acknowledging the importance of integrated landscape approaches to financing and investing in them, adoption in national and sub-national policies, and implementation on the ground. I was humbled to hear throughout my time in Paris, from a wide variety of people, that our work at EcoAgriculture Partners has played a significant role in that shift.

Support BannerWe’re proud of what we accomplished in 2015. Will you help us do even more in 2016?

Support sustainable landscapes this holiday season with a gift to EcoAgriculture Partners.

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