Provisional #landforum programme now available here: http://www.globallandforum.org/

SOURCE: FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

20/03/2015 Bangkok, Thailand

With pollution levels off the charts in some Asian cities and haze from forest fires blanketing much of Southeast Asia, this year’s International Day of Forests on 21st March reminds us what’s at stake if countries don’t get more serious in dealing with deforestation and climate change, an official at the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said today.

“The present efforts to address climate change clearly need to be stepped up to include more effective forest management and expansion of forest cover,”  said Hiroyuki Konuma, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific, adding that “more than 11 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions result from deforestation and forest degradation.”

Forests are crucial in allowing our planet to adapt to climate change as they help ensure water availability, protect against landslides, prevent desertification and provide livelihoods for people. Forests cover 31 percent of global land area and almost as much carbon is stored in forests (650 billion tons) as in the atmosphere (760 billion tons).

Some improvements in Asia – but more is needed

While the Asian region as a whole has achieved a small increase in forest cover in the last decade, due to massive reforestation programmes in a few countries such as China and Viet Nam, continuing loss of natural forests, forest degradation and declining forest health continue to be a concern in most countries of the region.

“Protecting the remaining forests of our region conserves the biodiversity that is vital for plants, humans and other animals to adapt to climate change,” Konuma said. “If we stop the damage now, we will not only avoid massive release of forest carbon into the atmosphere, but our forests will also potentially be able to absorb more than one-tenth of global carbon emissions and store them long-term in the form of forest biomass, in the soil and in wood products.”

Forests, women and climate change

A new report, just released by FAO and RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests, highlights that women could be a major force in countries’ strategies to improve forest management. Studies confirmed the key roles of women in managing and protecting forests in the Asian region.  Their contributions are therefore seen as critical in dealing with the challenges associated with climate change.

“It is time to acknowledge the major role that women have in managing forests,” said Konuma. “Women have to be given more opportunity to play leading roles and given far greater say when decisions are made about trees and forests; it is very clear that no initiative aimed at addressing climate change or forest management will be successful without the full involvement of women.”

Raising awareness of policy makers, practitioners and the general public

International Day of Forests, held annually on 21 March, helps raise awareness of the importance of forests to people.  More than 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihoods, medicine, fuel and food.

In Asia and the Pacific, FAO is working with all levels of society to raise awareness of the importance of forests, through debate involving high-school and university students at FAO in Bangkok this week, and a high-level executive forest policy course on people, land use and forests in the ASEAN region next week.

“Raising awareness is important, as is successful conclusion of negotiations on a comprehensive international climate change agreement,” said Konuma.  “But what really matters is how we address these challenges on the ground.  In this aspect, we need the support of everyone, including the critical contributions of women in ensuring sound forest management.”




The Global Land Forum is a unique event that brings together over 500 grassroots organisations, activists, local and international NGOs, researchers, multilateral organisations and government agencies from around the world.

The Forum is action-oriented. The programme is structured to provide opportunities to participants who may not commonly interact to debate, exchange, learn from each other’s experiences and successes, strategize, and build linkages. High-level plenary keynote presentations from different perspectives will provide a context for a wide diversity of sessions organised by participants according to their interests. There will be a strong focus onsharing best practices towards people-centred land governance, and on identifying opportunities for engagement and collaboration.

The Forum will create particular opportunities for participants to learn from, and contribute to, land governance successes and challenges in Senegal and Africa. It will facilitate dialogue to the highest political level on land reform in Senegal. Moreover, the global cope of the Forum will enable exchange across different national and regional contexts that allows for not only identification of trends, but also the emergence of new perspectives and areas demanding common action.

ILC’s 152 members will adopt a declaration with common commitments to action in their Assembly following the Forum.

Over the past decade, the International Land Coalition (ILC) has advanced its mission by promoting secure access to land for rural people, mainly through capacity building, dialogue, and advocacy.

Every two years, ILC organises an international Forum (GLF) to convene its members and other stakeholders to advance understanding of the complex and dynamic political, economic, environmental and social linkages between land governance, food security, poverty and democracy.

The 2015 Global Land Forum will take place 20 years after the Brussels Conference which established the International Land Coalition. In these two decades the members of the coalition have significantly advanced the coalition’s mission to promote secure and equitable access to and control over land.

Moreover the 2015 Global Land Forum will take place in the same year that the UN General Assembly commits to a new comprehensive sustainable development agenda, in which land and natural resources are likely to feature pro minently. It will offer a unique platform for considering the practical implications of such global commitments, and in particular how those concerned can link up their efforts to better bring about this change.

The Forum is an open event and is held back-to-back with ILC’s Assembly of Members.

The conference theme

Land governance for inclusive development, justice and sustainability: time for action stresses the centrality of land and natural resource rights to our vision of building a better world in the post-2015 era. It focuses on the progress achieved in benchmarking good land governance globally and in Africa, but also on the continued need to critically examine the benchmarks and improve them where possible. Furthermore, it emphasises the challenge of now translating them into reality.

Participants will hear challenging perspectives and debates in plenary, but will also be able to lead or participate in a wide variety of workshops on topics linked to the theme and to share innovation through the Marketplace of Ideas. There will be plenty of opportunities for interaction.

Know more about Global Land Forum 2015


With global attention focused on inequitable land-related investments, governments, donors, civil society, and the private sector are searching for ways to improve land governance and investment practices.

The Department for International Development (DFID) has launched a four-year Responsible Investments in Property and Land (RIPL) project, implemented by Landesa, to lead a global effort to help women and men, communities, governments, and investors realize socially responsible, transparent, and financially sustainable land-related investments.  | Visit the RIPL webpage


Namati is seeking new partners to support communities to document and protect their customary or indigenous lands.

Drawing on five years of research and field-testing, Namati and our partners have designed a powerful four-step process for protecting community lands and natural resources. Our approach supports communities to map their resources, resolve boundary conflicts, and formally register their lands. Communities also draft and adopt rules for good land governance, sustainable natural resource management, and intra-community equity and justice. By the end of the process, communities are empowered to set the course of their own development and engage with potential investors on their own terms.

To keep pace with the global land rush, thousands of communities must take action to protect their rights. Namati is looking for new partners to adapt our approach to support communities in their regions.


The deadline for applications is April 15, 2015

New Partnership Program


We are seeking mission-driven organizations that are sincerely trusted by communities. Our partners have committed management, experienced field staff, strong legal analysis skills, and capacity to translate impacts into policy advocacy.


Namati and partners co-create and co-implement community land protection efforts. We work with partners as equals: while each partnership is tailored to context, all partners have an equal stake and voice in the program.


Namati will provide new partners with the tools, support, and resources they need to successfully apply this approach and impact land policy in their nations. Together, we will collect data, analyze impacts, and continually learn from our collective efforts.

All of our partners will receive access to a fully developed and tested monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system that can be customized to each partner’s context. Namati will also work with partners to co-publish papers, reports, and advocacy tools, as appropriate.


By April 15, 2015 submit your completed applications to communitylandprotection@namati.org


FAO launches facility aimed at channeling technical expertise, financial resources towards resilience building

Photo: ©FAO

Flooding in Sindh Province Pakistan in 2010 destroyed 2 million acres of standing crops.

17 March 2015, Sendai, Japan – Nearly a quarter of damages wrought by natural disasters on the developing world are borne by the agricultural sector according to initial results from a newFAO study released here today at the UN World Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction.

The Organization also announced the launch of a special facility aimed at helping countries better equip their food production sectors to reduce risk exposure, limit impacts, and be better prepared to cope with disasters.

Twenty-two percent of all damages inflicted by natural hazards such as drought, floods storms or tsunamis are registered within the agriculture sector, FAO’s analysis of 78 post-disaster needs assessments in 48 developing countries spanning the 2003-2013 period shows.

These damages and losses are often incurred by poor rural and semi-rural communities without insurance and lacking the financial resources needed to regain lost livelihoods. Yet only 4.5 percent of post-disaster humanitarian aid in the 2003-2013 period targeted agriculture.

FAO’s 22 percent figure represents only damages reported via post-disaster risk assessments, so while indicative of scale, the actual impact is likely even higher. To arrive at a closer estimate of the true financial cost of disasters to developing world agriculture FAO compared decreases in yields during and after disasters with yield trends in 67 countries affected by (at least one) medium- to larger-scale events between 2003 and 2013.

The final tally: $70 billion in damages to crops and livestock over that 10 year period.

Asia was the most affected region, with estimated losses adding up to $28 billion, followed by Africa at $26 billion.

“Agriculture and all that it encompasses is not only critical for our food supply, it also remains a main source of livelihoods across the planet. While it is a sector at risk, agriculture also can be the foundation upon which we build societies that are more resilient and better equipped to deal with disasters,” said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva.

“This is why building resilience of livelihoods to threats and crises is one of FAO’s top priorities,” he added.

New facility for disaster risk reduction in agriculture

To help countries better prepare for and respond to disasters affecting agriculture, FAO today launched a new facility aimed at channeling technical support to where it is most needed. The facility will work to mainstream disaster risk reduction in agriculture at all levels through diverse activities.

“With this new effort, we are aiming to limit peoples’ exposure to risks, avoid or reduce impacts where possible, and enhance preparedness to respond quickly when disasters occur,” said Graziano da Silva.

Studies have shown that for every one dollar spent on disaster risk reduction, as much as four dollars are returned in terms of avoided or diminished impacts, he noted.

The work of the new facility will be guided by FAO’s Framework Programme on Disaster Risk Reduction for Food and Nutrition Security.

Agriculture remains a key sector

Worldwide, the livelihoods of 2.5 billion people depend on agriculture. These small-scale farmers, herders, fishers and forest-dependent communities generate more than half of global agricultural production and are particularly at risk from disasters that destroy or damage harvests, equipment, supplies, livestock, seeds, crops and stored food.

Beyond the obvious consequences on peoples’ food security, the economies and development trajectories of entire regions and nations can be altered when disasters hit agriculture. The sector accounts for as much as 30 percent of national GDP in countries like Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, the Niger, among others.

There are also spill-over losses in agriculture-dependent subsectors, and significant consequences for trade flows. Countries surveyed experienced an increase in agriculture imports to the tune of $18.9 billion and a decrease in agriculture exports of $14.9 billion following natural disasters, between 2003 and 2013.

Key facts

From FAO’s analysis of damages reported via needs assessments

  • Based only on damages reported in 78 post-disaster risk assessments in 48 countries covering the 2003-2013 period, losses of $140 billion were registered by all economic sectors – $30 billion of these were to agriculture (crops, livestock, forestry, fisheries).
  • When droughts occur, agriculture absorbs up to 84 percent of all economic impacts.
  • Within the agricultural sector, 42 percent of assessed losses were to crops ($13 billion) – with floods the main culprit responsible for 60 percent of crop damages followed by storms (23 percent of crop damages).
  • Livestock is the second most affected subsector after crops, accounting for 36 percent of all damage and losses, for a total of $11 billion during the 2003-2013 period.
  • Out of the 78 disasters assessed, 45 involved impacts to the fisheries subsector ($1.7 billion, or 6 percent all damages born by the agricultural sector). The lion’s share – 70 percent – was caused by tsunamis, typically infrequent events. Storms such as hurricanes and typhoons account for roughly 16 percent of the economic impact on fisheries, followed by floods (10 percent).
  • The forestry sector incurred $737 million in damages and losses, representing 2.4 percent of the total for the agricultural sector.

From FAO’s expanded analysis

  • FAO also compared decreases in yields during and after disasters with typical yield trends in 67 different countries affected by at least one medium- to larger-scale event between 2003 and 2013, in an expanded analysis, in order to arrive at a closer estimate of financial costs.
  • Based on this expanded analysis, losses and damages to crops and livestock over that period are estimated to total $70 billion. Data gaps mean the total is likely higher still.
  • 82% of production losses were caused by drought (44 percent) and floods (39 percent).
  • Asia was the most affected region, with estimated losses adding up to $28 billion, followed by Africa at $26 billion.
  • In Africa, between 2003 and 2013 there were 61 drought years in Sub-Saharan Africa affecting 27 countries and 150 million people. FAO estimates that 77 percent of all agricultural production losses suffered worldwide due to drought occurred in those 27 Sub-Saharan countries, with losses adding up to $23.5 billion.


March 11: Dishing up the dirt

Pablo Tittonell, Professor and Chair of the Farming Systems Ecology Group at Wageningen University, argues that by taking advantage of soil’s natural processes a lot more land could be used productively, helping to meet the world’s growing food needs and to reduce agriculture’s carbon footprint.
Read more

AgTalks presents the latest thinking, trends and research on policies and innovations in small-scale farming.

Each AgTalk is recorded as part of a live event hosted by IFAD, and in the coming months we will release a new talk biweekly. Subscribe to IFAD’s YouTube channel to be notified about every new release.


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