The world today faces the dilemma of having to balance a in increasing demand for natural resources and other services provided by ecosystems with a decreasing availability of these resources and ecosystem services. The challenge is and will be to preserve landscapes’ multiple functions regarding food security, economic development, bio(cultural) diversity and climate.
Against this backdrop, the Discussion Forum on one hand demonstrated the importance of generating, preserving and managing biocultural diversity by involving all interests groups (ICIMOD). On the other hand, the session emphasized the necessity to use resources more efficiently, for example by reducing wastage of food. More than 10 percent of the world’s total energy consumption was used to produce food that never reached a consumer.
One possible solution is to invest in industrialized value chains, and to support modern agricultural practices. However, this can have unintended consequences such as land degradation and loss of biodiversity. These consequences have led to the recognition among stakeholders that landscape approaches should be applied when solving problems related to the growing pressure on natural resources from all land use sectors. The Discussion Forum explored ways of preserving the cultural identity of landscapes without maintaining inefficient, unsustainable land use practices.
A large share of greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries result from unsustainable agricultural practices and land-use changes. Thus, conserving existing intact landscapes, for example by preserving their biocultural identity, and implementing climate-smart agricultural and processing practices, can contribute to stabilizing the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
The theme also has a link to Sustainable Development Goal 12 (sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources) and 15 (protect and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems).
Key questions addressed:
- Do landscape approaches offer us the opportunity to combine different ways of living and producing on the same land, instead of having to decide between one or the other?
- How can cultural identity, which may cross boundaries, trigger transboundary collaboration, good governance and biodiversity conservation?
- What are resulting fields of action for policy makers, the donor community and implementers of landscape approaches?