global_landscape12 June 2016: Held on 6 June 2016, in London, UK, the invitation-only ‘Global Landscapes Forum: The Investment Case’ brought together experts from the financial services industry with participants from government, academia and the corporate sector, to explore the role of private finance in enhancing livelihoods and landscapes across the globe.

Organized by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) of the CGIAR Consortium, Credit Suisse, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Bank, among other partners, the event included high-level segments; expert clusters focusing on overcoming obstacles currently preventing sustainable finance; sessions focusing on case studies and investments on the ground; and sessions on specific investment opportunities. Climate finance and decoupling deforestation from supply chains were among the main topics discussed. Key challenges addressed included unclear tenure and government regulations, weak institutions, and the uncertain returns and unforeseen risks currently inhibiting investments at scale. Sessions also covered issues such as diversifying financial instruments to realize REDD+, risk reduction measures for private sector investment in landscape restoration, the assessment of legal and policy frameworks for landscape investment in Africa, and how to link angel investors to land-use startups.

For the first time, a Dragon’s Den was held to allow presenters to pitch concrete investment opportunities to a panel of investors, finance experts and land-use practitioners. All pitches introduced real projects at an advanced stage. They included: the Land Degradation Neutrality Fund, created by Miroga and the Global Mechanism of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) to support large-scale rehabilitation of degraded land for sustainable use with long-term private sector financing; the Sustainable Ocean Fund by Althelia Ecosphere, a new public-private partnership dedicated to making impact investments into marine and coastal projects; and the Sustainable Cocoa initiative in the Dominican Republic, by NatureBank, which aims to achieve sustainability in cocoa by supporting communities that rely on cocoa for their livelihood.

“We need to move out of our comfort zones. That’s the philosophy of the Global Landscapes Forum– to bridge academic disciplines, expert communities and economic sectors to create a forum where everybody talks to everybody and crosses the traditional boundaries and innovates,” said CIFOR’s Director General Peter Holmgren in his keynote speech at the opening plenary. He identified three key areas that require urgent attention: on the finance side, new tools to help minimize the risks of investments and scale them up; financial services on the ground through local finance institutions; and better measurement of progress, in terms of both return on investments and sustainability outcomes. [Event Webpage] [Concept Note] [CIFOR Blogpost on the Event, Part I] [CIFOR Blogpost on the Event, Part II] [Interview with CIFOR’s Peter Holmgren] [Natural Resources Policy and Practice Story on the Land Degradation Neutrality Fund] [White Paper on the Sustainable Ocean Fund] [White Paper on Sustainable Cocoa in the Dominican Republic] [Links to all White Papers] [Links to Presentations]