“Go beyond your own border”, was the statement delivered by Hedwig Bruggeman, leader of the Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation, during a plenary session at the Global Landscape Forum (GLF). The event focused on the promotion of sustainable landscape management, based on a cross-disciplinary and inter-cultural approach.
The Global Landscape Forum is a multi-stakeholder platform led by the Centre for International Forestry Research. GLF 2018 took place in the city of Bonn on the 1st and 2nd of December. These days were very inspiring, filled with many stimulating discussions. Therefore, I will limit my story to the most engaging episodes, starting from a forest restoration talk, to an indigenous leaders’ dialogue and finishing with input from my EFI colleagues Jose Bolaños, who attended a discussion of the pillars on how to reach collaborative actions. As a junior researcher from the EFI Bonn office and active volunteer for GLF, I was involved in the organization and coordination of its very active Youth in Landscape delegation.
Episode 1: ‘Forest reproductive material and forest restoration’
In one of the GLF parallel discussions, my attention was caught by a dialogue on forest reproductive material (FRM) and forest restoration – and in the following, I will share some highlights of the discussion with you. An important part of the talk focused on The Bonn challenge, the largest forest restoration project in history. 170 million hectares have been restored so far, and the final challenge counts 350 million hectares by 2030. While aiming for the greater good, we were reminded to keep in mind that restoration requires ecological diversity and people empowerment.
The debate made quite clear that it is crucial to raise local awareness and strengthen local capacities to guarantee that the right tree is planted in the right place. People need to understand the value of our natural resources and the link it to genetic principles, in order to scale up meaningful and sustainable projects. Therefore, participants of the discussion emphasized the necessity for a decision support tool to enable the appropriate choice of forest reproductive material.
Episode 2: ‘The dialogue among indigenous leaders’
“To connect people back to their land, traditional knowledge is important to tackle land degradation!”, was the imperative of an indigenous representative from New Zealand.
During another side talk, the indigenous leader reminded us that local knowledge is key to understanding the challenges and the possible benefits when developing a successful restoration project. It is necessary to comprehend how to work and support the local communities, providing, for example, a post-restoration management program in the long-term.
Additionally, we learned that our efforts on restoration projects should emphasize investments, diverse production (e.g. food trees introduction) and collaborative actions to fulfill the global commitments we are facing today.
Episode 3: ‘How to build and reinforce collaboration? ’ by my colleague, EFI Bonn’s Communications Office Jose Bolaños
Building collaboration and strengthening a network, according to Jeremy Harrison, FSC International, are based on trust. The key aspects of this trust are clarity of purpose on what the collaboration is trying to achieve, and having tangible targets. Two more aspects mentioned by Harrison were communication skills and transparency within a framework that enables both. Confidence, competence, and consistency crowned his list. Having organizations that meet these characteristics working together is essential, emphasized Harrison.
GLF 2018 demonstrated the importance for emphasizing cross-border and interdisciplinary approaches. It is necessary to scale-up our actions, to comprehend the value local knowledge, to empower people and trust the network we establish. Only with these improvements, we will succeed in translating the agreements we have taken into effective actions.