According to the 2018 progress assessment on the New York Declaration on Forests, “40 times more subsidies and investments are made in driving deforestation than protecting the world’s precious and rapidly deteriorating forest landscapes”.
Global Landscapes Forum 2018 aimed to accelerate and mobilize collective action on the ground and enhance knowledge sharing with policy makers and other actors to identify new and green development pathways in landscapes.
The recent bilateral agreement between Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to protect the largest intact peatland in the world, located in the Congo basin, was highlighted as a good example of transboundary and South-South cooperation.
4 December 2018: “We need to step out of our comfort zone and find ways to collaborate with private actors, even with those who are misbehaving, so we can get them on the right track.” With these words, UN Assistant Secretary-General, Satya Tripathi, reflected the broad recognition at this year’s Global Landscapes Forum (GLF), that efforts towards sustainable landscape management and restoration are not moving fast enough, or at sufficient scale.
The 2018 GLF took place in Bonn, Germany, from 1-2 December 2018, ahead of the Katowice Climate Change Conference meeting in Poland from 2-14 December 2018. The Forum aimed to accelerate and mobilize collective action on the ground and enhance knowledge sharing with policy makers and other actors to identify new and green development pathways in landscapes.
According to one of the studies featured at the Forum – the 2018 progress assessment on the New York Declaration on Forests – “40 times more subsidies and investments are made in driving deforestation than protecting the world’s precious and rapidly deteriorating forest landscapes.” Another study by Global Forest Watch finds that one football field’s worth of forest was lost every second in 2017.
The discussions highlighted new ideas to drive positive changes through viable market models that simultaneously address the need for more sustainable supply chains while also changing consumer behavior. One practical monitoring tool highlighted during the discussions was the Verified Sourcing Area (VSA) Global Performance Standard spearheaded by the Netherlands-based IDH-Sustainable Trade Initiative, with a prototype for wider consultation due to be launched in July 2019. VSA mechanisms aim to provide an alternative to the cumbersome and expensive process of auditing each producer or commodity individually by enabling different stakeholders to verify the sustainability of an entire production area, such as a state or district.
One football field’s worth of forest was lost every second in 2017.
Various international organizations, including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the International Tropical Timber Association (ITTO) highlighted similar approaches for linking the restoration of forest landscapes with sustainable wood value chains to achieve greater overall benefits.
With 120 countries involved in setting or implementing voluntary land degradation neutrality (LDN) targets under the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the UNCCD’s Global Mechanism highlighted its experience in facilitating funding for large-scale restoration projects. The need for an integrated and long-term approach was emphasized, from initial support for technical target setting and project development through to identifying the right funding mix and monitoring progress in implementation.
Discussing barriers to private sector involvement, various GLF 2018 sessions emphasized the need to streamline the numerous methodologies and guidelines promoted by different institutions. Examples of flexible and innovative finance models were also highlighted, including: using impact finance to encourage investments in holistic restoration, rather than focusing on specific tree species or commodities; giving measurable market value to social and environmental impact; and bringing together a mix of funding sources to reduce risks for investors.
The recent bilateral agreement between Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to protect the largest intact peatland in the world, located in the Congo basin, was highlighted as a good example of transboundary and South-South cooperation.
Inaugurated at the 2013 UN Climate Conference in Warsaw, Poland, the GLF brings together world leaders, scientists, private sector representatives, farmers, community leaders and civil society to accelerate action towards the creation of more resilient, equitable, profitable and climate-friendly landscapes. GLF 2018 attracted more than 1,000 participants, and engaged millions more through the online edition and social media channels. [GLF Landscape News, 4 December 2018] [GLF Landscpape News, 3 December 2018] [GLF Landscape News, 2 December 2018] [UNCCD News Release] [UN Environment Press Release on Launch of International Tropical Peatland Center] [GLF 2018 Website]