Climate goals not achievable without landscape-level focus, says World Bank VP at GLF

8 December 2014

Feeding a growing population while curbing deforestation and tackling climate change will require fundamentally managing landscapes differently, said a top climate policy expert.

On the need to take an integrated landscape approaches to sustainable development, “the science is now crystal-clear, [and] the economics are compelling,” said Rachel Kyte, the World Bank Group’s vice president and special envoy for climate change, at the 2014 Global Landscapes Forum. The forum, organized by the Center for International Forestry Research on the sidelines of the UN climate talks, brought together climate change negotiators, government ministers, scientists, civil society and other experts.

“Without landscapes, we are just not going to be able to achieve what the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] has said quite clearly now must be the goal,” she said. “But … I don’t think that we have yet successfully made the case to the people outside of this room that this is economically and financially possible.”

Addressing an audience of more than 1,700 people, Kyte stated that making landscape approaches work hinges on “exactly what you do with that compelling economics, and how you integrate this into your vision of your country’s future.”

Speaking of the World Bank’s plans and financing related to climate and forests, Kyte said the bank cannot do it alone.

“We need every development institution, bilateral and multi-lateral, to join us if we are going to be able to direct long-term financing into the things that we value most. And those are the things that we find in an integrated landscape.”

Watch Rachel Kyte’s speech, above; an edited transcript follows.


  • For more news, research and analysis related to the COP20 and the Global Landscapes Forum, go to cifor.org/lima.

Rachel Kyte’s speech:

A year ago in Warsaw, we talked about the journey that we’ve made since Rio when we said, look, we’ve really got to all come together, from across the agriculture community, across the forest community, and integrate into one community.

Here you all are again. There are more of you, I think, and there’s a long list of people that couldn’t even get into the hotel. This is a very long journey. It’s been a long journey to get here, and it’s going to be a long journey going forward. It’s very important that when you get to the top of one hill, you stop, you look back, and you see where you came from, and that you stop, look forward, and see where you’re going.

So today is about implementation, but it is also about realizing what it took to get here, learning the lessons of success and failure, and redoubling our commitment to go further, faster.

Since we met last year lots of things have happened. Lots of good things have happened, and some maybe not so good, but they are all lessons worth learning.

I think the most important thing is that the IPCC report that came out in early November really helped us in terms of making the argument about why we have to take a landscapes approach, and why this has to rise up the list of priorities even further.

By basically taking away all grounds for argument that the goal is anything but to decarbonize our economy by 2100, the report places firmly in the center of action our ability to manage our landscapes in a fundamentally different way than we have often been able to up to now.

We will engineer a clean energy revolution in the next few decades. We will engineer a revolution in the way urban transport systems work. We will engineer these revolutions.

But even if we are immensely successful in so doing, we will have to fundamentally manage our landscapes differently to provide the nutrition for the people who will live on this planet. To provide the livelihoods and the sustenance to those people who live in the rural areas. To provide ourselves with the diversity of nature that we need to survive. To provide ourselves with the ability to reduce emissions from our forests and our agricultural methods. To provide jobs and competitiveness to economies that must survive.

We will need to do all of that. And without landscapes, we are just not going to be able to achieve what the IPCC has said quite clearly now must be the goal. So I think, technically, we have lots of things that we need to share, but I don’t think that we have yet successfully made the case to the people outside of this room, that this is economically and financially possible.

We’ve been saying for a year now that we believe that the science is clear, that the economics are compelling, and the politics remain challenging. I think the science is now crystal-clear. I think the economics are compelling—there’s been report after report after report. But exactly what you do with that compelling economics, and how you integrate this into your vision of your country’s future, is exactly what’s at stake here at COP20, and between this meeting and the meeting in Paris.

Read more at Forests News

 

Originally posted at CIFOR’s Forests News

KEYWORD(S):