United by Landscapes: Experience the Youth Workshop at GLF Bonn 2018

21 Dec 2018

From the coral limestone isle of golden sandy beaches (Barbados), to the home of the Table Mountains (South Africa), and the world’s largest mangrove forest (India), we were invigorated by a passion to conserve and restore degraded landscapes and the desire to be Landscape Leaders.

We thus united on the 29th of November in Bonn, Germany.

Who are we? We are the top 9 finalists who participated in the Youth Landscape Leadership Workshop (29-30 November) and GLF Bonn 2018 (1-2 December) led by the Youth in Landscapes Initiative (YiL) and the Global Landscape Forum (GLF).   

We are happy to share our experiences with you, the lessons learned during the four days, what inspired us and what we took home.

The Inspiration

“I come from a Mega Biodiversity country, the home to the 4th largest population on Earth and a vast equatorial archipelago of 17,000 islands, Indonesia. I applied to the GLF and Youth in Landscapes, to gain cross-cultural understanding, build international networks among environmentalists and get strong knowledge about sustainable landscape management.” Ms. Nistia Sekar Ningati

Landscape Leadership

“Each individual defines landscape leadership differently, whether from a personal or collective perspective all are important. I was intrigued by the various translations of the word landscape and how its definition varies according to a culture’s values and relationship with the land,” says Justin Springer from Barbados, a land renowned for its fields and hills of sugarcane and golden sandy beaches.


Ms. Zizipho Royi who hails from the land of the table mountains and the Kruger National Park, was inspired by the story of Mr. Yacouba Sawadogo, alternative nobel prize winner. Mr. Sawadogo is renowned for combating desertification through reforestation of degraded lands with the Zai technique, and he is now influencing landscape restoration across Africa. “It was an inspirational moment to learn how much of himself he had given to ensuring a better life for all and the fact that he is referred to as “the man who stopped the desert” puts into context the amount of work he did and what is meant for the environment and for the people of Burkina Faso”.

The Take Home 

“I take to the pearl of Africa, new energy and momentum to begin afresh, to keep going where I almost gave up, and  a new spark, that will light a fire in my landscape restoration efforts.”- Ms. Ruth Mwizeere.

Ms. Elizabeth Wathuti from the land of the second largest Mountain in Africa says “I felt inspired and motivated to take more positive action towards sustainable landscapes.”

“I am from Peru, a country of magnificent landscapes, from mountains and beaches to rainforests and deserts. A country where culture mixes with nature. After GLF, I intend to be more active, learn more about landscape management and find out initiatives in my country where I can support and be part of.” Ms. Fabiola Espinoza.

“I come from the land of the Atlantic forest and the Amazon. Having been part of GLF and Youth in Landscapes forum, I highly recommend those who are willing to merge the gap between academia and field work to be part of GLF.” Mr. Filipe Suleiman.

Desires for the Future

“I hail from India, a country whose landscape is as diverse as its culture. As a heritage professional who works around the concept of ‘cultural landscapes in the next GLF, I would love to see sessions related to the following aspects: Case studies on how landscapes have given birth to cultures around it and how they are being preserved together; an insight on some intangible practices that are intrinsically related to landscapes around the world and first-person-narratives like those from farmers and local communities.” Ms. Ritika Khanna

Favorite Quote 

Ms. Claire Nasike from the land that hosts the white sandy beaches of Diani and the second largest freshwater Lake in Africa, reiterates the words of the President of the International Forestry Students Association (IFSA), Ms. Dolores Pavlovic: “Everyone has something to share. We can only learn if we listen”.

We express our deepest gratitude to Youth in Landscapes Initiative (YiL) and the Global Landscape Forum (GLF) for giving us this opportunity to explore even further what it means landscape management, get acquainted on the current strategies, programs, and initiatives led by governments, the private sector, NGOs, social networks aiming to implement a landscape approach, and most importantly, encourage us to take action and be collaborative leaders in our communities to promote sustainable change.

By sharing our experiences at GLF in Bonn 2018 we hope that you will be inspired to be part of it in 2019 and scale up the call to action in landscapes.

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