The Vice President for Sustainable Development for the World Bank Group, Laura Tuck, speaks at the high-level opening plenary session from the first day of the Global Landscapes Forum 2015, in Paris, France alongside COP21.
The session explores the investments into sustainable landscapes that countries and private actors have already committed to – as well as the areas in which we need to scale up efforts.
Saturday, 5 December 2015
Global Landscapes Forum, Paris, France
For more information go to: http://www.landscapes.org
Honorable ministers, distinguished panelists, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Global Landscapes Forum. And thank you so much for the honor of opening such an important gathering of policymakers, technical experts, entrepreneurs, NGO organizers, donors, and citizens.
We are all here today because we care deeply about conserving our forests. We are concerned about our collective food, water, and energy security. And we understand the strong linkage between a healthy productive landscape and our collective ability to withstand the impacts of climate change.
This is the third Global Landscapes Forum. This year we will take stock of how far we’ve come in realizing our vision for sustainable landscapes and what more can be done to transform how we manage our land and our forests to really build prosperity and resilience on a global scale.
The event and the partnerships for landscapes has grown every year. This weekend brings together eight coordinating partners and 13 implementing partners. In total, more than 100 organizations from around the globe are contributing actively to the forum. Up to 100,000 people are visiting the website. Millions will be reached through social media. And many more are following our live stream right now across the globe.
We are clearly living through times that will define us. I see this daily in my work as Vice President for Sustainable Development at the World Bank, in each and every one of the sectors that I oversee. The investment choices we make today are going to define the outcomes we have in 20 years. A recent World Bank study has found that climate change could push into poverty more than 100 million people by 2030 if we don’t act quickly and strategically to support climate smart development across all the sectors.
And we cannot postpone acting on adaptation any longer. The time has come when we cannot put off making decisions that factor future climate effects into our policies and our investment choices. This year we have seen new climate records being set and natural disasters clearly showing us the increasing consequences of climate change for people and for economies. 2015 is set to be the hottest year on record, and El Niño is already starting to wreak its expected havoc, with abnormal rain patterns in many regions across the world.
We’re seeing every day headline news about the droughts and floods that are threatening hard-earned development gains. We are also keenly aware of the massive increase in migration and refugee flows, and of course these are exacerbated when degraded land can’t sustain livelihoods and new jobs any longer.
Everyone here at COP21 knows that this is just the beginning. What we’re seeing today is what life on earth looks like with a one degree increase in average temperature since pre-industrial times. And we’re all here because we know it’s time to start preparing for an increase of two or even three degrees now.
And there’s so many things that need to be done. But one at the top of the list is the support to and investment in sustainable landscapes. As I look around the audience today, I am really happy to see so many of the key players who have had an impact on land use management, and I want to thank the many partners of the Global Landscapes Forum and our host the French Government for bringing us together. I especially want to thank the funding partners that have made this possible – UKaid, the Australian Department of the Environment, USAID, the CGIAR Program for Forests, Trees and Agroforestry, and Credit Suisse. We should also thanks the South Pole Group, which is helping us in offsetting our carbon footprint by investing in a landscape restoration project in Ghana.
At the World Bank, we have been working at the landscape level for over two decades. And we welcome the momentum we see in this area as countries share their national plans for climate action and prepare to implement the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals, each in their own way. Working across sectors at the landscape level is going to be critical for us to deliver so many of the solutions we need for our most pressing challenges.
We need to work across sectors to find synergies, so the best use can be made of the scarce resources – land, forests, and water. Today, 78 per cent of the world’s poor live in rural areas, and preserving the health and productive potential of natural assets is key to deliver both jobs and resource security.
We know – everyone in this room knows – that integrating trees into agricultural landscapes boosts yields and reduces vulnerability to droughts. We know that preserving forests in watersheds helps protect water supplies for urban consumption and hydropower in uncertain climates. We know that restoring mangroves protects coastal lives and economies from extreme weather events. We know all these things.
But actually doing them on a meaningful scale is not easy. It’s going to require new levels – meaning more – coordination, finance, and knowledge. And I am very hopeful that we will all give special attention to these issues in each of our respective spheres of influence to make these new level happens.
The forum this year focuses on four themes: landscape restorations, rights and tenure, finance and trade, and measuring progress toward climate and development goals. The work on each of these themes is not an academic exercise. Each theme is connected to real opportunities and to the ambitions expressed by a growing number of countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions at the same they’re boosting inclusive and green growth.