A new publication links Territorial Development and Integrated Landscape Management through case studies around the world

by , , | July 7, 2021 | Landscape Restoration and Management

“Territorial Approaches for Sustainable Development,” published in January recently by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), is a stocktaking of experiences and lessons for spatial multi-sector planning and management.  The TP4D study report is oriented to policymakers, program managers, and practitioners looking for successful territorial approaches.

EcoAgriculture Partners’ Fellow Thomas Forster led the stocktaking team, including EcoAg Staff Sara Scherr and Louise Buck and Angela Penagos, and Eduardo Ramirez from Centro Latino Americano para el Desarrollo Rural (Rimisp).  The stocktaking recognizes Integrated Landscape Management (ILM) as a leading territorial approach, especially where agriculture and natural resources are prominent land uses and institutions. The report may be accessed here.

Providing lessons learned from 14 case studies

The report provides examples of success and synthesizes lessons based on analysis of 14 case studies from Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, China, Colombia, India, Kenya, Madagascar and Rwanda.  At the core of successful territorial approaches are principles for territorial planning, namely place-based, people-centered, multi-actor, multi-level and cross-sectoral. Further ingredients for success include capable institutional convenors, inclusive multi-stakeholder platforms, multi-stakeholder territorial assessments, strategic capacity building, reinforcing coordination mechanisms, and continuous institutional and fiscal support. Strong enabling environments, investment in knowledge and data, and lasting multi-stakeholder engagement influence the long-term success of territorial initiatives.

Among the case studies, the report gives Colombia special attention due to its national commitment to territorial development in its peace construction framework. For some 30 years, the country has responded to development challenges at national and sub-national levels using territorial approaches resulting in a system of multi-level participatory governance. The main reason for adopting a territorial perspective in Colombia was to reduce inequalities and social conflict.  The country’s longstanding experience with the approach offers a rich forum for learning that can be valuable in other countries.

Further exploration at the online expert workshop

The intersection between territorial approaches and ILM was further explored at an online expert workshop on spatial approaches to sustainable development. Entitled “Territorial and Landscape Days” (7-9-July, 2020) and organized by FAO and BMZ with support from GIZ, workshop participants included practitioners and policymakers from EU, international organizations (OECD, UN-Habitat, FAO, CIRAD), international research institutes and universities, Rimisp, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Wageningen University), and national development agencies and ministries (GIZ, BMZ and French Development Agency). The expert consultation aimed to deepen the integration of territorial and landscape approaches. For meeting the sustainable development goals (SDGs), opportunities are particularly ripe for blending ILM and Territorial perspectives to realize synergies between the two that improve development impacts. The main outcomes of the online event are summarized here.


  • Thomas Forster (The New School)

    Thomas Forster has worked for over 20 years with government and non-governmental agencies to strengthen urban and rural linkages in food systems, especially in relation to school food, sustainable agriculture and food and nutrition security. He teaches food policy and governance at The New School for Public Engagement.

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  • Louise Buck (EcoAgriculture Partners, Cornell University)

    Dr. Louise Buck has led EcoAgriculture Partners’ capacity-building work since our founding, developing and piloting training materials to improve leadership, multi-stakeholder facilitation, and technical abilities for integrated landscape leaders around the world.

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  • Sara Scherr (EcoAgriculture Partners)

    Dr. Sara J. Scherr, an agricultural and resource economist, is a prominent voice globally in promoting the restoration of degraded lands. She founded EcoAgriculture Partners in 2002 to promote locally-led agricultural landscape transformation for food security, rural livelihoods and ecosystem services.

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