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Dear President Gurib-Fakim,
dear Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Lina Pohl,
dear Executive Secretary Erik Solheim,
dear Senior Director Karin Kemper,
dear General Director Robert Nasi,
dear Ladies and gentlemen,
Just over a year ago, we met at the last Global Landscapes Forum in Marrakesh.
At the forum’s closing event, Germany announced that it would host the Global Landscapes Forum from 2017 and provide a new home for the forum in Bonn for the next few years.
Today, it gives me great pleasure to welcome you to Bonn. I am delighted that we have been able to follow through on our announcement in cooperation with the organisers.
In my view, the Global Landscapes Forum is a perfect addition to the UN city of Bonn. The international focus on global climate, environmental and development policy is an unmistakable common feature between the Global Landscapes Forum and Bonn. And I have no doubt that this will lead to valuable synergies on all sides. The challenges facing the international community are huge – climate change, and the loss of natural resources and biodiversity. If we want to master these challenges, we have to make the land use sector a focus of our efforts.
There are currently a number of different processes aimed at solving global environmental crises. The key formal processes are the Rio Conventions
- on climate change mitigation and adaptation
- on conserving biological diversity and
- on tackling desertification.
Voluntary processes such as the New York Declaration on Forests and the Bonn Challenge on forest restoration also play an important role, in particular in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda. As you can see, there are plenty of opportunities for synergies, exchanges and cooperation. What is important is to agree on effective measures and to be willing to make compromises and trade-offs. For example, not all measures that are feasible for climate action would have a positive impact on biodiversity conservation. In other words, we have to find smart solutions.
We have to be aware of the scale of the challenge facing us. The fact that the international community agreed on the 2 degrees goal at the Paris Climate Change Conference does not automatically mean that everyone is now acting in concert. We will still have tough negotiations about wording at the annual Climate Change Conferences in future. However, at COP 23 last month here in Bonn, we proved that we can be successful. And at the climate summit in Paris hosted by President Macron one week ago, we reaffirmed that we would persevere with our efforts.
The Global Landscapes Forum is an important source of ideas. It is the world’s largest independent action platform for the land use sector. It creates and pools the expertise that is so urgently required. It also enables a structured dialogue between all stakeholders beyond national interests and priorities. The Global Landscapes Forum creates space for innovative ideas that can then be implemented on the ground. The overarching goal is to learn from one another and take action together.
The list of pressing issues that require close expert exchanges over the coming years is long. Allow me to name just a few examples:
- restoring and protecting forests and landscapes,
- improving the basis of livelihoods in rural areas,
- sustainable management of peatlands
- and private sector participation by means of creative investment options.
I hope that we will be able to step up this exchange in the years to come. And that there will be many cases of taking action together. I am confident that the innovative format you are using together here at the forum will lead to good outcomes.
I wish you all every success.