Conventional policy approaches that assume landscapes can have one priority objective while ‘trading-off’ other objectives are no longer viable in much of the world.
Thankfully, policymakers have a large set of tools at their disposal that buck this paradigm and create sustainable landscapes through integrated landscape management, which involves long-term collaboration among different groups of land managers and stakeholders to achieve their multiple objectives and expectations within the landscape for local livelihoods, health and well-being.
Many if not most of these policy guidelines are very low or no cost, such as recognizing land and resource rights negotiated and landscape scales, empowering local decision-making for resource planning, and harmonizing sectoral agency agendas and policies. For those policymakers, agencies, and organizations struggling with biodiversity mainstreaming, climate action, rural poverty, food insecurity, zero deforestation commitments, or any other goal that relies on sustainable management of natural resources, this should come as welcome news.
Current state of affairs
National and sub-national policies that create the enabling conditions for integrated landscape management still need to be put in place in most areas of the world. Sectorally-siloed government planning and decision-making processes often hinder territorially-oriented development that seeks to achieve multiple, cross-sectoral objectives. Negotiation processes that meaningfully involve multiple-stakeholders at a landscape scale are not being sufficiently supported by business-as-usual policy. Counterproductive fiscal and policy incentives continue to lead to unsustainable resource management at a landscape scale.
Eight categories of action available now
Applying these policy guidelines can put a country or sub-national jurisdiction on the path to creating a more supportive policy environment for ILM. Simultaneously, it can help them meet internationally agreed targets, including those focused on sustainable agriculture production, poverty alleviation, food security, climate, biodiversity, and landscape restoration.
Starter steps toward ILM
Governments can take the first steps toward implementing these actions with just a few simple starter steps:
- Form multi-stakeholder learning and advocacy working groups on ILM at national and sub-national levels, where appropriate, which include government and non-government actors;
- Review the existing policy framework and enabling environment for ILM;
- Convene a landscape policy dialogue to identify key actions that government can take to better support ILM.