Juan Manuel Benites Ramos – Opening Address: Negotiating landscapes for multiple benefits

Peru’s Minister of Agriculture speaks at the high-level opening plenary session from the first day of the Global Landscapes Forum 2014, in Lima, Peru, during COP20.

The session explores how integrated approaches support the achievement of multiple benefits in the landscape, by addressing the following points: Which processes and principles can be applied that help in negotiating multiple benefits? What are the main obstacles to achieving combined land use solutions? And what does “good landscape governance” look like?

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Global Landscapes Forum, Lima, Peru

#COP20GLF #ThinkLandscape

Juan Manuel Benites Ramos – Opening Address- Negotiating landscapes for multiple benefits (Transcript)

JMBR:               [0:12] Good afternoon to all of us that are in this COP 20 in the Global Landscapes Forum. It is an honor to host this event, but of course it was one of the most important ones for our country. Well, I would like to welcome all of you to Peru. The importance of a meeting as this one is to make decisions concerning our worldwide concerning that is affecting nations like Peru. We are a part of the most impacted countries due to climate change, as opposed to the most developed countries. We have not still achieved a development of other peoples, and we are aware that we will never achieve this if we will not take urgent measures to mitigate and prevent the consequences of the greenhouse gas emissions and effects.

[1:06] Agriculture is an activity that faces a dichotomy concerning climate change. On one hand, it creates life for human beings, ensuring its proper food and sufficient food. But, on the other hand, it may turn to be a source of deforestation and soil degradation. However, this paradox, the effects of which are even worse if we focus this on the existence and assurance of water as a source of life. Can be very well addressed, successfully addressed, if all the countries present in this COP 20 are aware of this. Our glaciers are melting at a very worrying speed. The same applies with the poles in the north and south poles. And this contributes to raising the level of the seas.

[1:58] The figures say that globally 30 per cent of the gas emissions come from the cutting and burn of forest due to the land use changes. The idea of land use changes implies a greater capacity and productive efficiency. Not only from the economic point of view, but also from the environmental and social aspects. In this, the participation of local peoples, especially native communities, are indispensable in order to achieve a socially sustainable environment. To make our agriculture a viable and friendly activity with the environment – that’s the challenge that we all must face. And we agree to take the necessary measures, to be creative innovators and to identify opportunities for improvement in everything that we do. And to be able to close these gaps of deficiencies.

[2:55] We also have an important role to play here, to give more value to our forests. To develop the reforestation activities and forest plantations as a better way of life for the settlers and the people living in the area. We cannot put more pressure in our forests due to lack of opportunities on our peers. Our mission is to generate this from a productive and sustainable perspective. Some years ago, we were thinking that decisions with an environmental component were only voluntary or good faith. But now we have found that these are indispensable. That, really, to make use of the land in a sustainable manner should be an obligation. Also to have a carbon neutral agriculture. We are speaking about intelligent businesses. When we’re thinking about emission reduction, efficient use of energy, and we’re thinking towards an economy with green growth.

[3:51] The comprehensive management of our territory, product diversification that’s something different, business models according to the producer’s scale. They’re also ways to adapt against climate change. As part of all these new concepts that the world is discussing presently, we have the landscapes that have an important relevance that was not seen before. COP 20 and the Global Landscapes Forum allows us to have the excellent opportunity to sit together at the same table as citizens of the world, to identify our differences. To speak about our own perspectives, our own interests, and to know about our knowledge, our failures and successes, and to learn from them. The idea of this landscape approach that we’re speaking about enables to analyze all the different land uses that we can apply. In Peru for example, we have decided to work on the land uses zoning in order to have an important tool to have a proper forest management.

[4:56] Within this line, there’s forests and planning. The cross section, coordination among all the sectors, is very important to face this challenge. The landscape perspective is a set of comprehensive scenarios that give us a new vision that will help with this integration, that will help us to look at separate sectors and think ourselves of something that will be complementing ourselves to reach a common goal. To reach success, we need to take into account governance. And we need to make decision making processes that will include all these perspectives. Institutionality for this is an important challenge, as is the case of the multi actor and multi level interaction. In this forum, we hope to have the opportunity to discuss on topics such as monitoring, reporting and verification, resilience, vulnerability, and climate smart agriculture. Today, this is the only way to do things properly.

[5:58] We are working strongly to design our actions at a national level, the mitigation known as NAMAS. And we are doing this, trying to see the differences among the different stakeholders related to cacao, coffee, the cattle raising, and the oil palm. But with a comprehensive and integrating approach, that’s why we want to create also our own NAMA for the landscape. On the other hand, water would also be a key issue in our debate. The landscape approach gives us proper options to identify the different strategies that will be required to improve the quality of life of the population starting from access to good quality water and in sufficient quantities. The Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation of Peru has understood the need to promote the efficient use of water. And now we’re investing in this jointly with the regional and local governments of Peru.

[6:57] We have a national plan for the proper management of water resources to give efficient use to water, and programs like the one that has made irrigation in the highlands that will create opportunities to those lands that have now been identified as being apt for agriculture but does not have any access to water right now. All this is important to reduce the impact affecting our forests right now. But we are fully aware that this will not be possible facing climate change – that we cannot face this challenge of climate change only as a state.  That’s why we are promoting also to work in coordination with the private sector. Especially the productive sector and the financial sector. Of course, without ignoring as an important stakeholder the indigenous peoples.

[7:48] As a country, we have taken the commitment to get into the OECD that will get us to have a new public and private partnership scheme so that we can face all together climate change. We need to progress, though, as a green economy in low carbon, well in neutral carbon. Our country has a challenge to reach to Paris with an agreement. Now we have the possibility of starting to build this within the framework of this COP 20. We must not neglect this opportunity. We should assume this challenge and we should ensure the survival of all humanity. Thank you very much.