More than 3000 people came together at the 2015 Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) in Paris to forge solutions to the planet's greatest climate and development challenges through sustainable land use. But, as speakers at the Forum in Paris highlighted, achieving sustainable land use management will require great amounts of investment.
Held in parallel to COP21, the GLF highlighted the role of farmers, the private sector and NGOs as change agents in driving up finance efforts: thus far, the finance sector was seen to be largely disengaged from discussions on sustainable development, despite some leveraging of private capital and noteworthy corporate initiatives. Good social infrastructure and community funding were considered to be a more reliable and sustainable financial mechanism compared to global markets and different types of development assistance.
The event also fed into the grander theme of the overall importance of land restoration and more holistic land-use approaches. "To realise the climate and development goals, decision makers need to move beyond sectorial silos," said Christian Dannecker, Director Sustainable Supply Chain and Land Use Practice at South Pole Group, speaking at one of the GLF sessions. "Landscape approaches that attempt to reconcile the multiple objectives of various stakeholders are likely to be more effective at finding means and ways to integrate climate and development goals."
The topic of integrated water resource management was another key discussion topic during the Forum. According to speakers, the linkages between forests, water and the sustainable development goals needed to be better acknowledged and articulated: Forests and water were considered as co-dependents and integrated management—that also includes other sectors such as agriculture and extractive sectors—can contribute to the fulfilment of multiple climate and development goals.
"Now that the 17 new UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been defined, we must avoid ending up in 17 silos and rather identify synergies between actors, bringing together different sorts of motivations and drivers to investment, to implement programmes and projects that deliver multiple SDG benefits at the same time," Christian emphasised.