Tropenbos International, the AgriCultures Network and the Forest and Farm Facility, created a space so voices from the fields and forests could be heard at the Global Landscapes Forum, Lima, Peru, on 6-7th December 2014. And they spoke.
Booths from the three organizations surrounded a lively area that made up one of the pavilions, called the Forest and Farming Families Living Landscape Lounge. A busy weekend programme of presentations, debates and various discussions meant that there was a continual flow of people, also taking publications away with them, and leaving their views on the graffiti wall and in the voting box.
We started with a ‘conversatorio’ on Saturday morning, organized by Agricultures Network partner ETC-Andes. In the afternoon, Forest and Farm Facility (FFF) partner, the Alianza Mesoamericana de Pueblos y Bosques (AMBP), spoke out about the needs of those who live in and live off the landscape, attracting a significant crowd.
In the evening sharefair - the ’circus of knowledge’ - the voices of forest and farming families in Bolivia, Peru and Guatemala, and well as those of forest and families worldwide, were again thrown into to the wider debate. It was opened by Joy Mlambo from Zimbabwe, one of the youth facilitators selected by CIFOR to share and learn at the Forum. The suite of landscape-related publications was then officially launched. These included special landscape editions of Farming Matters, LEISA Revista, LEISA India and Agriculturas, and a 2015 calendar to celebrate the International Year of Family Farming, all produced by AgriCultures Network partners. The FFF publications ‘A roadmap for strengthening forest and farm producer organizations’ and ‘Multi-sectoral platforms for planning and implementation’ were also launched, followed by ETFRN News 56, ‘Towards productive landscapes’, and finally, the joint policy brief ‘Lessons from the landscape – approaches that work’.
Cora van Oosten (CDI - WUR, the Netherlands) facilitated a lively debate, with panel members Peter Besseau (International Model Forest Network), Teobaldo Pinzas (ETC-Andes, Peru), Nataly Azcarrunz (Instituto Boliviano de Investigaciones Forestales), and Victor López Illescas (UTZ CHE – AMBP, Guatemala). The discussion focused on how to ‘organise’ listening in the landscape. The participants came up with lessons that emphasised words like “time”, “trust”, “tolerance”, “create common rules”, “respect” and “openness”. As one participant said afterwards, “I have listened through several formal presentations today, but this evening was the most refreshing – to hear real stories from real people. This is the landscape speaking.”
The second day began with another ETC-Andes organised ‘conversatorio’, while in the afternoon, Eduardo Rojas Briales, Assistant Director General of FAO Forestry, and Forestry Officer Thomas Hofer, joined Herman Savenije to discuss ‘The Road to Durban’, and how adequate forest and farm producer organizations representation can be ensured at the XIV World Forest Congress in Durban, South Africa, in September 2015.
At the end of a hectic two days, the few remaining publications were packed away and the pavilion cleared, as everyone went to listen to the closing plenary, and say their farewells in the exhibition area afterwards.
The definition of a landscape in the European Landscape Convention is “an area, as perceived by people, whose character is the result of the action and interaction of nature and/or human factors”. Equally, everyone at the Global Landscape Forum will take away their own different perception of the event, and which will of course change as we look back. As Charles Lindbergh, the great aviator, author, inventor, explorer and social activist once said, “Life is like a landscape. You can live in the midst of it but can only describe it from the vantage point of distance.”
Click for an extended report.
Click for a photo impression (Flickr).
Reported by Nick Pasiecznik, ILEIA