glf_paris7 December 2015: The 2015 Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) gathered more than 3,000 people to discuss priority issues including land restoration, financing for sustainable landscapes and strengthening the role of indigenous peoples and local communities in land-related decision-making. Several publications were launched in concert with the Forum, which convened from 5-6 December 2015, on the sidelines of the Paris Climate Change Conference.

Organized and supported by a cross-sectoral consortium of over 100 international organizations led by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) of the CGIAR Consortium, the Forum included more than 30 sessions facilitating science-policy-practice conversations on four themes: landscape restoration; rights and tenure; finance and trade; and achieving climate and development goals; in addition to climate change mitigation and adaptation and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were used as cross-cutting themes. It was organized along plenary sessions, discussion forums, launchpad applications to present new research and initiatives, landscapes laboratory stations showcasing new technologies, and thematic pavilions for exchange and networking. The Forum also included: individual booths, providing exhibition space; speed-networking incentivized conversations between stakeholders; a photo competition; the Pecha Kucha-style night; and a Youth in Landscapes initiative.

CIFOR Director General Peter Holmgren opened the Forum emphasizing that creating holistic solutions to global problems, like climate change and inequity, requires a deeper appreciation of the many values of landscapes: social and environmental as well as economic. Priority issues for the Forum included: tracking support for the restoration of degraded lands worldwide while developing a better understanding of the role of landscapes in solving the climate problem beyond avoided deforestation; unlocking increased financing for sustainable landscapes by linking commitments to sustainable supply chains and financial investments in landscape-based commodity production to the funding needed to make the transition to sustainable land use; and strengthening the role of indigenous peoples and local communities in land management and related decision-making to improve outcomes for nature, climate and people.

Sessions on restoration aimed to track progress made on restoration, including pledges to support reaching restoration targets, and showed approaches for successful landscape restoration. The theme on rights and tenure focused on a series of issues central to the effectiveness of climate and development initiatives such as REDD+ and private investments in land-use sectors for sustainable land management, including implementation of REDD+ safeguards, gender and access to land, law and governance frameworks, and indigenous peoples’ rights in the context of landscape approaches. Under the theme on finance and trade, participants explored the effectiveness of initiatives, including innovative financial approaches, and which indicators are needed to track environmental and social impacts. Sessions under the theme on climate and development goals identified and launched tools and instruments needed to measure progress at the landscape level, addressing technological innovations, multi-stakeholder engagement, and knowledge support tools.

Several publications were launched during the two-day event. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and the Global Mechanism (GM) of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) presented a joint discussion paper on ‘Sustainable Financing for Forest and Landscape Restoration: Opportunities, Challenges, and the Way Forward.’ The paper was launched during a session on investing in integrated landscapes to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, and noted that more than US$300 billion is needed per year to restore the world’s degraded land in order to achieve SDG target 15.3 by 2030. The discussion paper sets out key messages on financing for forest and landscape restoration for governments, development banks, international agencies, environmental funds, non-governmental organizations and private companies. It also proposes innovative and non-traditional ideas such as crowdfunding and green bank cards. The Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative launched a complementary publication at the same discussion forum titled ‘Scaling up Investment and Finance for Integrated Landscape Management: Challenges and Innovations.’

The UNEP Office on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) presented the Interim Report on TEEB for Agriculture and Food, discussing findings from a number of studies that focus on different “externalities-heavy” sectors such as livestock, rice, agroforestry, inland fisheries and palm oil. The publication presents economic and policy drivers and incentives that influence land-use decisions and management techniques within production systems around the world. It proposes a valuation framework meant to provide a common lens for ensuring that the full range of impacts and dependencies can be examined under different applications, and finally, it discusses the way forward for TEEB for Agriculture and Food.

The Global Canopy Programme launched the ‘Little Sustainable Landscapes Book,’ which aims to clarify and disseminate sustainable landscape management methods, and to catalyze their implementation across private and public sectors worldwide. Produced in collaboration with several organizations, the book summarizes current developments in landscape management, makes recommendations on policy, and explains the importance of landscape initiatives in achieving global goals related to sustainable development.

The Forum also saw the launch of the Natural Infrastructure for Business platform, an online platform that aims to strengthen the business case for investing in natural infrastructure, demonstrating cost-efficient solutions with co-benefits for society and the environment. [2015 GLF website] [GLF Press Releases] [Blogpost by CIFOR’s Peter Holmgren] [GM Press Release][Publication: Sustainable Financing for Forest and Landscape Restoration: Opportunities, Challenges, and the Way Forward] [Publication: Scaling up Investment and Finance for Integrated Landscape Management: Challenges and Innovations] [TEEB for Agriculture and Food] [Publication: TEEB for Agriculture and Food Interim Report] [Publication: The Little Sustainable Landscapes Book] [Natural Infrastructure for Business platform]