The world needs African solutions: “Together, we can move from surviving to thriving”

11 Oct 2023


Nairobi, Kenya (11 October 2023) – Today, at the global conference GLF Nairobi 2023: A New Vision for Earth, thousands of leading African changemakers, scientists, practitioners and community leaders of all ages convened in Nairobi and online from 130 countries to discuss ways to transform food systems, secure land rights and restore landscapes through African-led solutions.

Speakers outlined numerous ways that Africa and its people can build resilience to the climate crisis and other ecological challenges.

“We have existing solutions and the tools to develop new ones that the world truly needs,” said Éliane Ubalijoro, CEO of the Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF) and Director General of ICRAF.

“And we come together, we can go beyond surviving – to thriving. We are living in a digital age, characterized by interconnectedness and interdependence. It’s time to take the best of this era – employing tools like artificial intelligence and cutting-edge research to address global challenges in an inclusive and responsible way. It’s time to ensure that knowledge and wisdom from around the world are shared with those who need it most. Our work, in collaboration with our partners, provides tangible solutions to some of the most pressing challenges of our time.”

“Our resilience is directly related to the way we protect and manage our landscapes,” said Jochen Flasbarth, State Secretary of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

“Landscapes provide us with a wide array of ecosystem services and are the backbone of agriculture. Restoration projects, ranging from soil restoration, and rehabilitation over peatland rebuilding to restoration of forest landscapes offer a remarkable opportunity to create new and green jobs. They are a good example of the synergies that can exist between environmental stewardship and economic prosperity.”

“We cannot talk about transforming food systems in a country like Kenya and most of Africa without really putting farmers in the center of it,” said Daniel M’Mailutha, CEO of the Kenya National Farmers’ Federation (KENAFF).

“We need to make sure that farmers understand that it is in their self-interest to do what is right as far as the landscape is concerned.”

“Up to 40% of the world’s land is degraded, directly affecting half of the world’s population,” said Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

“By degrading land, we degrade our ability to produce sufficient and nutritious food, quality water and quality air. Africa has suffered 44% of the world’s major droughts over the last 100 years. In the last 50 years, the continent has suffered economic damage of more than USD 70 billion, not to mention immense human hardship. Africa, which is very rich in ecosystems, traditions and knowledge, holds a key. The continent has long practiced sustainable agriculture from the terraced fields of Rwanda to the agroforestry traditions of West Africa. It’s time to amplify these African led solutions, scaling them up and out.”

“We are encouraging the use of biodiverse and local food, and for this, we have a policy framework, a legal notice to require all millers to brand their products with the forgotten foods to ensure that local households are using more biodiverse foods that are local,” said Philis Njane, Deputy Director of Research and Innovation and an Agricultural Economist at the Ministry of Agriculture of Kenya.

“We need to make agriculture cool for everybody.”

“In Africa, and especially in my country today, the average farmer is sixty years old. And yet, our nation is fairly youthful. That begs the question – who is going to feed us?” said Jenice Achieng, Kenya Country Representative of YPARD.

“We need to shift this narrative of going to the cities to get white-collar jobs and expose and show that there is a very big space in agriculture.”

The GLF Nairobi 2023 Hybrid Conference: A New Vision for Earth takes place in Nairobi and online on 11 and 12 October, gathering leading scientists, activists, Indigenous leaders, financiers, women, youth, policymakers, the private sector and more. Day 1 focused on African sovereign solutions. Day 2 will gather a global audience in crafting a survival guide for a planet in crisis and set the stage for a fairer world ahead of the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference (COP28).



About the GLF
The Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) is the world’s largest knowledge-led platform on integrated land use, connecting people with a shared vision to create productive, profitable, equitable & resilient landscapes. It is led by the Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF), in collaboration with its co-founders UNEP and the World Bank, and its charter members. Learn more at

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