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âFragmentation is our enemyâ: Why we must work together across landscapes
WARSAW, Poland (17 November 2013) â Global experts made an impassioned plea to change the way the world is tackling food insecurity, climate change, poverty and water scarcity â and warned that UN climate negotiators in Warsaw risked âturning their backs on some of the most vulnerable and poorest people in this worldâ.
âWe are wasting precious time as a result of a disjointed, discombobulated dance,â Rachel Kyte, World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development, told participants at the Global Landscapes Forum, held on the sidelines of the climate talks. If the world continues âto fund crop expansion on one hand but forest protection on the other, we are simply wasting taxpayersâ money.â
Experts called for a âlandscape approachâ to rural development, hailed as a way to bring together the agricultural, forestry, energy and fisheries sectors to come up with collaborative and innovative solutions to ease increasing pressure on the worldâs resources, which are threatened by climate change.
âLandscapes are not just an important part of the solution. They are the solution,â Peter Holmgren, Director General of the Center for International Forestry Research, told the forumâs 1,200 participants from 120 countries. âWe must put our hope in landscapes. Fragmentation is our enemy and a recipe for disaster.â
The most recent disaster in the Philippines should be a call to action on climate change, said Bruce Campbell, Director of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security. âHow many superstorms will we have before the world starts to take climate change seriously? As a scientist, I know we have the knowledge we need to act, so letâs do it.â
Historically, farming, fisheries, energy and forestry have been managed in isolation despite their many links. Agriculture is the chief driver of deforestation even though it depends on forests for water, pollination and other ecosystem services.
Speaking at the conference, His Royal Highness Prince Seeiso Bereng Seeiso of the Kingdom of Lesotho described himself as a âmessenger for Africaâ and said that âthe impact of climate change on livelihoods, food security and nutrition at household levels and the environment has been disastrous.â
âBy failing to safeguard our natural resource base, farmers are âŠ having to sell off their meager physical assets. âŠ They are failing to feed their own families,â he said. âOnly when we take a landscape approach âŠ can we boost agricultural production while adapting agriculture to climate change and reducing agricultural emissions.â
Ruth DeFries, a renowned professor at Columbia Universityâs Earth Institute, warned there is âno single prescriptionâ for managing the differing functions of landscapes.
âIt is possible to bring together competing interests to achieve multiple objectives âŠ it requires an on-the-ground approach that cuts across ecological, economic, cultural and political dimensions,â she said. âBut there is much science to be doneÂ âŠ and even more hard work on the part of policy to provide the right set of incentives.â
She gave the example of her home city of New York where a forest 100 miles (160 kilometers) away is crucial for the regulation and filtration of water for city dwellers.
Sara Scherr, President of EcoAgriculture Partners, cited another example from Ethiopia where âintegrated landscape management has already made a huge difference to the livelihoods and economies of millions of peopleâ.
Kyte said that science has advanced far enough that the world has the necessary technical capacity to quantify and visualize the connections between human activities and the environment. âFrom crowdsourcing to satellite imagery, from natural capital accounting to participatory mapping, we have more data, more resources, more images, more evidence.â
Referring to a breakdown in talks on agriculture this past week in Warsaw, Kyte said that âthese negotiations run the risk of turning their backs on some of the most vulnerable and poorest people in this world and that will not build a climate negotiation that works.â
Tackling the worldâs pressing challenges requires urgent action from all, said Marcin Korolec, the Polish Minister of Environment and president of the 19th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. âThe global challenge of climate change requires that we seek no less of our leaders than of ourselves.â
Media are invited to use online resources from the event:
- Event photos:Â http://www.flickr.com/photos/cifor/sets/72157634698054739/
- Video Webcasting:Â http://www.landscapes.org/live-stream/join-us-live/
- Blog:Â www.landscapes.org/blog
- Twitter: @GlobalLFÂ (Event hashtag: #GLFCOP19)
For media queries:
Bruno Vander Velde, Center for International Forestry Research
Vanessa Meadu, CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security
+44 7772 195317
The Global Landscapes Forum was co-convened by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) on behalf of the 14 organizations of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, and by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), on behalf of an international consortium of 12 leading Agriculture and Rural Development organizationsÂ in collaboration with the host country partners: Polandâs Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and the University of Warsaw. Â For more information, visitÂ www.landscapes.org.