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Source: Small Island Developing States

The 2019 Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) Investment Case Symposium explored advances in sustainable finance, asset management, industry breakthroughs in sustainable investment, and the evolving role of capital markets in a low-carbon future.

The three-day event took place immediately following the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) Regional Roundtable on Sustainable Finance. Approximately 500 leaders of sustainable finance institutions, politicians, researchers and practitioners, as well as an online audience, explored how to mainstream investments in sustainable land use to achieve a transformational shift towards climate-smart production models.

According to data cited by UNEP at the meeting, an estimated US$800 billion is needed to restore 350 million hectares of degraded landscapes, a fraction of the roughly US$5.2 trillion that is spent annually on fossil fuel subsidies. A UNEP-hosted session noted that finance alone is not a silver bullet, and accelerating the transition to sustainable land use may require addressing the distribution of value within value chains and establishing regulatory regimes that reward land stewardship. The discussions explored innovative financial instruments for investments in sustainable land management, especially for smallholders and other land-users who lack collateral and land tenure security. 

Numerous examples of blended instruments for sustainable land-use finance were shared, such as a partnership between Ugandan conservation NGO EcoTrust and USAID, aimed at helping households monetize their landholdings through sales of carbon credits on the global market. The project builds on a mechanism developed by Althelia Funds to structure carbon sequestration as collateral for communities with few other assets. In another example, banking group Crédit Agricole du Maroc, described as “a web of banks,” was highlighted as an example of how to successfully fund “unbankable” farmers who hold no collateral.

While the role of consumers and bank shareholders in demanding sustainable and ethical products and businesses was highlighted, the discussions noted that “the catch-up time to transform global markets,” – namely consumer goods, energy and transportation – requires risk-taking, significant spending, policy change, close monitoring of the development processes and climate change mitigation efforts. Representatives of multinational financial institutions stressed the need to change the regulatory environment of banking “on a global scale,” and unlock public finance to leverage private investments towards such long-term goals.

Held in Luxembourg from 26-28 November 2019, the event was the fourth annual edition of the GLF annual Investment Case Symposium. The event was co-organized by Luxembourg for Finance and hosted by the Government of Luxembourg.

The GLF is a knowledge-led platform on integrated land use, dedicated to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Agreement on climate change. The Forum takes a holistic approach to creating sustainable landscapes that are productive, prosperous, equitable and resilient and considers five cohesive themes of food and livelihood initiatives, landscape restoration, rights, finance and measuring progress. It is led by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) of the CGIAR Consortium, in collaboration with its co-founders UNEP and the World Bank, and nearly 30 Charter Members. [GLF News Release] [Meeting Website]

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