Perspective: My Week Covering Collaborative Landscape Conversations at COP27

by | December 1, 2022 | 1000L News, Events, Landscape Partnerships, Landscape Restoration and Management

Nadeem Demian is a finance and policy Intern supporting the 1000L Finance Solutions Design Team in researching innovative landscape finance mechanisms. He had the opportunity to travel to his mother country and experience the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Below is a review of the event from his perspective.

Last month, I had the pleasure of attending the 27th Conference of Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change(UNFCCC). There, I took part in a number of events that explored how landscape partnerships and landscape approaches can support regenerative food systems, ecosystem restoration and a resilient climate. While COP remains a contentious event, with some calling for its abolishment and others seeing it as one of the few opportunities for seldom-heard voices to take center stage, it is undoubtedly inspiring to witness the rapid increase in conversation around the need for integrated, systemic methods in the fight against climate change. Moreover, this COP brought to light the importance of scaling already established solutions with local leaders at the helm. With financial and political support they formed a loss and damage fund to support communities bearing the brunt of climate change impacts. Below is a snapshot of my week as part of this global event. 

My week began at the Food and Agriculture Organization pavilion with a panel event titled What is the best approach to transformative adaptation for resilient agriculture in Africa?  The panel opened by introducing transformative adaptation as that which addresses the root causes of vulnerability, prioritizes social equity and results in long-term, systems-wide change at scale. 

In exploring the various opportunities to overhaul food systems in Africa, themes related to Integrated Landscape Management (ILM) continued to emerge throughout the discussion. Sithembile Mwamakamba, a director at the Food Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), emphasized the need to include communities at the front lines.  “We are missing the local voices at a local level to inform the decision-making at a national level,” he noted. “We need to scale up these decision-making processes from the ground up.”

On the matter of finance, Esther Zulu, a Zambian farmer and community leader mentioned that, “the issue is not the lack of financial resources in general, but it is a lack of financing aimed directly at scaling up solutions from the community level. While there may be capital resources available, they are not distributed effectively.” 

The panelists continued to highlight the importance of sound governance structures in enabling financial flows for land management practices. They noted that with more reliable and resilient governance, private capital will see investments in this space as less risky. 

The conversation was summed up nicely in a takeaway message delivered by Ana Maria Loboguerrero, the director of CGIAR’s Initiative on Climate Resilience (ClimBeR). She noted that, “if we can establish more coordination, especially with the farmers who are the producers of agriculture and implementers of climate-smart agriculture, then we can start to see a better future.” 

Regen10 Spotlights Farmer-led Landscape Approaches as Key to Regeneration Efforts

On Thursday, representatives from the Regen10 network, an ambitious collective action plan to scale regenerative food production systems in the next decade came together to discuss the initiative’s framework and celebrate recent financing milestones. Regen10 takes a landscape approach when designing resilient food systems, and is supported by the Rockefeller Foundation as well as the Ikea Foundation, a key funder of 1000L. 

During the event, one of the panelists, Elizabeth Nsimadala, President of the Pan Africa Farmers Organization (PAFO) and President of the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF) highlighted how important it is for Regen10 to take a farmer-centric approach. She emphasized the importance of documenting and institutionalizing local knowledge of regenerative farming practices so as to better inform management plans going forward. 

Juan Lucas Restrepo the Global Director of Partnerships and Advocacy at CGIAR followed by emphasizing the need for innovative place-based, multi-stakeholder partnerships to achieve the scale of change Regen10 promises. He continued, saying “the major obstacle is unlocking the right type of financing to make the changes we want to see.”

In order to help unlock private capital and lower the risk of investments into regenerative food systems, the Rockefeller Foundation pledged  $11 million (USD) in grants to ten organizations scaling indigenous and regenerative agriculture practice around the world, with Regen10 as a flagship initiative. The funding will help scale the development, data analysis, financing, and education around regenerative agricultural practices, which can improve global food systems and mitigate the global food crisis.

Exploring Innovations in Scaling Natural Climate Solutions

On Saturday, the last day of week one, Conservation International, another 1000L core partner, hosted an event spotlighting their recently launched Exponential Roadmap for Natural Climate Solutions (NCS). Johan Rockström, the Chief Scientist at Conservation International, joined Michael Wolosin, the Managing Director of the NCS Roadmap launched the discussion by presenting their work on the roadmap, highlighting the new “Carbon Law for Nature” which suggests we must achieve net zero for all anthropogenic emissions from land by 2030. While possible, they noted, both emphasized the need for rapid action and prioritization of mitigation first, with protection and then restoration. This high-level approach serves to provide the geographic, sectoral, and temporal framework for natural climate solutions. Determining the implementation processes of this roadmap is an essential next step and must be used to inform future policy.

Michael Wolosin called attention to the value of landscape approaches in implementing the roadmap. He claimed that “landscape partnerships are a crucial part of the next steps. They are essential for ‘downscaling’ the roadmap and focusing action into specific geographies to be informed by local context.” The work of CI on the NCS roadmap provides a valuable tool for EcoAgriculture and the 1000L initiative to direct resources towards the greatest levers for improving the climate. 

“None of us can do this alone, and I would love to see more collaboration at the landscape scale. We hope this roadmap will be a tool to further strengthen the radical coalition-building we are seeing with 1000 Landscapes for 1 Billion People, by helping to collaboratively scale the essential natural climate solutions needed to meet the 1.5°C threshold.”

As my week came to a close, I was struck by the immense resilience of negotiators and observers alike who have ushered in new hope for integrated approaches to more equitable climate solutions, from farmer-managed natural regeneration to inclusive finance. We must reckon with the closing window on the 1.5°C target, but I remain hopeful that as the silos continue to come crashing down, our planet can begin to heal and reconnect. 

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