Donor and Partner Event Report | Global Landscapes Forum: Connecting communities

The Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) entered a new era in December 2017, with the launch of the first in a series of summits to be held over the next five years in Bonn, Germany. The first of these gatherings was held from 19-20 December at the World Conference Center in Bonn.

The GLF Bonn brought together 1,026 diverse participants from 104 countries – 49% female, 51% male and 28% youth – from various sectors, regions and backgrounds. More than 70,000 additional participants joined virtually via livestream and social media channels.

The platform explored key challenges and opportunities for fostering sustainable landscapes going forth. Participants echoed that more scientific research is needed to produce knowledge for informed decision-making and agreed that the GLF can deliver this essential knowledge-convening role.

The GLF Donor & Partner Event report summarizes the two-day global gathering, its key achievements, its traditional and social media outreach and impact, and its plans moving forward.

Outcome Statement of the 2017 Global Landscapes Forum: Connecting communities

The Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) entered a new era in December 2017 when it successfully launched its next five-year phase, centered on building a worldwide movement to connect and engage one billion people around sustainable land use.

The inaugural meeting of this ‘new’ GLF was held from 19-20 December at the World Conference Center in Bonn, Germany, where the movement will take up residence over the next five years.

At the most recent summit in Germany, more than 1,000 people from 104 countries – including world leaders, environmental activists, celebrities, youth, policymakers, Indigenous groups, researchers, scientists, media and more – collectively addressed and offered solutions to the most pressing challenges facing landscapes. Another 70,000 people from 114 countries engaged online during the two days of the Forum, with 42 million others joining the conversation via social media.

Check out the discussions, including key messages, challenges, opportunities and ways forward, in this Outcome Statement that synthesizes GLF Bonn 2017 interactions.

Paving the way for gender-responsive FLR: Leveling the playing field for local farmers in Uganda

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), in partnership with the Ugandan Ministry of Water and Environment, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), as well as local governments and civil society organizations, have been working to address many of the climate-related issues in the Sanzara community by employing Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) with an integrated Ecosystem-Based Adaptation (EBA) approach to maximize community climate resilience. FLR is the process of regaining ecological functionality and enhancing human well-being across deforested or degraded forest landscapes. Effective FLR involves forests as it incorporates the number and health of trees in a given area, as well as landscapes, because it can include entire watersheds and jurisdictions where land uses interact. An EBA approach provides a viable option for sustainable and efficient adaptation to climate change by utilizing local biodiversity and ecosystem services to help communities adapt to the negative effects of climate change and includes sustainable management, as well as conservation and restoration of ecosystems, as part of an overall strategy that takes into account social, economic and cultural co-benefits.

2017 Global Landscapes Forum: Scaling Up Concept Note

The new phase of GLF will be launched and initiated on December 19-20, 2017 at the World Conference Centre in Bonn, Germany. The GLF will expand and enhance discussions to a larger audience than ever before, placing communities and local realities at the center of the conversation. This event, highlighting the launch of the next GLF phase and building a community that shares the GLF vision, will challenge influencers from all sectors to scale-up actions required to transition towards sustainable landscapes.

Opportunities for and capacity barriers to the implementation of REDD + projects with smallholder farmers: case study of Awae and Akok, centre and south regions, Cameroon

There is increasing consensus over the inclusion of smallholder farmers in REDD + (Reduced Emissions through reduced Deforestation and Degradation) initiatives, expected to be one essential component within the new set of “Flexible Mechanisms” in the post-Kyoto Climate Change Agreement. However, with few long-term REDD + pilot projects implemented with smallholders, this paper attempts to anticipate potential synergies and constraints of such initiatives from smallholders’ point of view by developing a framework to examine the capacities of two rural communities in Cameroon as a case study. Smallholder experiences with REDD + pilots and their predecessors such as integrated conservation and development projects (ICDPs), Payments for Environmental Services (PES) and the Clean Development Mechanism’s Afforestation/Reforestation Projects (CDM AR), are outlined in order to highlight local-level REDD + project requirements. This paper assesses the capacity for smallholders in the South and Centre Provinces of Cameroon to respond to these requirements through data collected from individual and small-group key informant interviews. The two case study communities possess similar but different livelihood capitals regarding proximities to market, forest cover, livelihood strategies and access to extension services. For both villages smallholder capacity for future REDD + project adoption was found to require reinforcement to guarantee local feasibility of REDD + projects. Possibilities to encourage already in use agroforestry systems under a REDD + scheme are discussed. From these results, we outline recommendations, areas of concern and key targets for capacity building for future REDD + initiatives with smallholders in rural Africa.

Large-scale land acquisitions: exploring the marginal lands narrative in the Chitemene System of Zambia

Whose consent?: hunter-gatherers and extractive industries in the Northeastern Philippines

There is increasing international recognition of indigenous peoples’ right to influence development activities in their territories. Free, Prior and Informed Consent is the strongest available instrument to assert this right, and this article provides a case study on its implementation in the northeastern Philippines. Under the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of 1997, extractive companies must seek consent from indigenous communities if these inhabit the proposed concession areas. The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, a government agency, facilitates this process. This article documents how extractive companies have obtained consent from the Agta, a resource-dependent indigenous group. The results, which cover the period 2003–2011, show that the implementation of Free, Prior and Informed Consent fails in terms of the process and its outcome. Consent is manipulated, the role of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples as facilitator is problematic, and the agreements are culturally inappropriate, weakly operationalized, and poorly realized.

From Lifelines to Livelihoods: Non-timber Forest Products into the Twenty-First Century

Globally, 1.5 billion people use or trade non-timber forest products (NTFPs) with the majority of NTFP use and trade occurring at local and regional scales, generally invisible to researchers and policy makers.

NTFPs cannot be measured by monetary estimations alone, as they have significant subsistence and sociocultural importance and are commonly one part of multifaceted, adaptive livelihood strategies. In spite of low-cost substitutes, both rural and urban people continue to use select forest resources for medicine, crafts, rituals, and food. And as drought, disease, famine, and conflict escalate globally, growing numbers of displaced and marginalized people depend upon forest resources for survival.

In general, forests managed for timber and NTFPs retain more biodiversity and resilience than forest plantations or forests managed for industrial timber. Forests that harbor NTFPs also protect ecosystem services such as hydrological functions and soil retention and act as a buffer against climate variability. Land use change through logging, fire, and agribusiness is contributing to the degradation of forests, resulting in declining access to NTFPs for local communities.

Land stewards can mitigate detrimental impacts to NTFPs by employing multiple-use management practices that emphasize ecosystem services and community needs in addition to traditional forestry outputs (timber and non-timber). For multiple-use forestry to be applied broadly, forest policies need to be cross-sectoral and scale sensitive to lessen regulatory obstacles for small holders and for common pool/property systems.

In addition, forestry training needs to include a stronger social focus and improved understanding of the ecology, use, and societal and ecosystem service values of NTFPs.

Gender and resilience

The contribution that external interventions make to individual, household and community resilience to climate extremes and disasters will largely depend on the suitability of those activities to the local context and the extent to which implementing agencies address existing social dynamics and power relations. Exploring the gender dimension of resilience to disasters and climate change encourages researchers and practitioners working in these fields to focus on people’s different relationships to the environment and access to resources. It also encourages them to assess how projects aimed at managing risk and building resilience are affected by social norms, including those pertaining to gender-based inequalities.

The analysis of NGO approaches in this paper reveals different levels of ambition, from recognising gender-based differences to targeting gendered interests and ultimately transforming gendered power relations. Several challenges were however identified within the gender elements of these projects related to their design, operational feasibility and the practicality of monitoring.

The authors set out recommendations for the implementation of resilience-building projects with a gender equality lens, based on examples from the literature and the NGO project documentation. They emphasise in particular the need to analyse the connections between the ‘mini-theories of change’ concerned with the ambitious goal of transforming gender relations and the overall theory of change for the resilience project as a whole. In doing so, implementing agencies can improve the coherence, gender impact and effectiveness of monitoring approaches. This exercise will require a thorough examination of the two-way causal relationships between women’s empowerment and community or household-level resilience.

From commitment to action: Establishing action points toward operationalizing integrated landscape approaches


  • There is congruence between the action points for establishing landscape approaches identified from both the theory literature and case studies
  • Coordinated policies that utilize landscape approach frameworks are necessary for fulfilling climate and development objectives
  • Multilevel governance structures and independently facilitated multistakeholder negotiation platforms are fundamental to achieving progress.