5 things you need to know about the future of the Global Landscapes Forum

17 Nov 2016

1. What makes the Global Landscapes Forum different from other conferences?

The GLF is much more than an event: it is an ongoing conversation and platform where diverse stakeholders come together to tackle our world’s most pressing issues. It has become a global community of several hundred organizations involved in a cross-cutting conversation on sustainable landscapes.

Like no other platform, the GLF connects all actors, from the private sector to civil society to science and more, to inform and shape the global climate agenda for the benefit all landscapes.

It connects people across geography and disciplines, provides learning for all participants, and commits to actions that will have a positive impact in the real world.

“Now that the Paris climate agreement has entered into force, our planet needs to have a bold agenda that is nothing less than transformational, and the Global Landscapes Forum is a huge part of that. It is a place where we find and exchange solutions.”

Erik Solheim, Executive Director, UNEP


2. What is the landscape approach for us?

The landscape approach doesn’t have a precise definition, which is part of its appeal. In essence it does not treat elements of a landscape, a locality or a region in isolation. It is holistic and sees a bigger picture, eschewing “silo-ed” approaches to development, climate, land use, etc…

Farms, forests, water bodies and settlements are not isolated elements but part of a wider landscape in which all land uses are integrated and are seen as part of a whole. It takes into consideration both the natural environment and the human society that may depend on it.

The landscapes approach is neither prescriptive nor dogmatic. It embraces compromise. It accepts that in any dispute about how to manage resources there will be a need for arbitration between different points of view, whether those of smallholder farmers, big agro-business, international agreements, national and local governments, conservationists. There are bound to be trade-offs with no absolute winners and no absolute losers.

“Landscapes are often portrayed as problem areas. We need to turn that around and see landscapes as opportunities.”

Peter Holmgren, Director General, CIFOR


3. What do we mean when we say that we want to reach 1 billion people with the landscape approach?

The GLF will utilize the intersection of communities of practice and contemporary communication (mass communication tools, media) to scale up outreach efforts on-the-ground and connect one billion people in embracing and mainstreaming the landscapes approach. To carry this out effectively, a range of diverse voices with unique perspectives from different landscapes must be engaged. A single message from a single voice will fail to spark the movement desired by the GLF.

The GLF will foster, develop and facilitate networks and communities of communicators, practitioners and local implementers. Outreach will be scaled up by these communities, who will also act the sources of the stories and narratives that will be fed into mainstream media outlets.  The stories of migration, deforestation, climate change, investment, and more will all hold appeal to different mass communication outlets at different times. The GLF as a landscape itself can source, develop, prioritize and add credibility to stories.

Make the connections, #ThinkLandscape and join our movement.


4. Why has the German Government decided to support GLF for the next four years?

The German Government wants to maintain GLF’s momentum and give it room to grow. The aim for the German Government is to develop resilient, productive landscapes and to find how the private sector and science can play an active role in these efforts. The GLF is an important global driving force for international development policy and processes that the German Government is supporting.

“Since its founding in 2013, the Global Landscapes Forum took over a leading role in the worldwide protection of threatened landscapes. The organization connects the fight against climate change and the agenda for sustainable development in a balanced and results oriented manner. This reflects Germany’s approach to development very well; at the same time the city of Bonn is strategically well situated as the city is currently positioning itself as a center for organizations of development cooperation. We look forward to cooperating with the GLF over the next four years.”

Dr. Barbara Hendricks, German Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety


5. What are the next steps for GLF?

The first step is to establish the global secretariat in Bonn. This will provide a basis for supporting further activities, such as the first annual event in 2017, and regional forums.

With the support of the German Government, the GLF will:

  • Hold an annual global conference each year in Bonn, to connect, share, learn and commit to action toward the goals and objectives of the GLF.
  • Connect and reach 1 billion people who will embrace a holistic landscape approach by 2020, in support of integrated land use around the world contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Climate Agreement, announced in 2015.
  • Ensure that at least 200 million ha of degraded lands are under active restoration and an additional 200 million ha are identified for restoration by 2020.
  • Ensure that the partnership and knowledge base on integrated landscape actions for sustainable development has facilitated progressive policy change in 50 countries.



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