Land transformation: From competition for land use to integrative use

Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

Time: Tuesday, 25. January 2022, 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. (CET), subsequent deep dive 9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

Languages: English, German, French

Hosted by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), this expert panel highlighted the governance action needed to reverse global trends of land degradation. The recommendations of the flagship report “Rethinking land” by the German Advisory Council on Global Change served as starting point for the discussion. “The international framework is better than it has ever been”, Louise Baker (UNCCD) stated, adding that healthy land is finally acknowledged as the baseline of achieving international environmental objectives. However, the translation of Sustainable Land Management (SLM) into policies offering effective incentives that reach small scale landowners are still missing. Astrid Schomaker (European Commission) underlined the new demand-side driven approach of the EU legislative proposal on deforestation-free supply chains, while indicating the need to work with the partner countries to strengthen sustainability in supply chains, improve forest management, support smallholder farmers and civil society. Indra Kumara (Environment District Agency, Kapuas Hulu, IDN) and Laban Kiplagat (Ministry of Agriculture, KEN) came to similar conclusions, emphasizing that policy cooperation across sectors and strong institutions which address the interests of local stakeholders are the drivers of success for SLM.
In the end, the message was clear: A global transformation to sustainable land use can only be successful if it builds on strong institutional cooperation addressing the land users of today and tomorrow.


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Salina Abraham is an Eritrean-American environmentalist and advocate for community-led action on sustainable landscapes. She is currently the Regional Hub Manager for the Global Landscapes Forum Africa Hub, a Youth4Climate Ambassador at the World Bank and a public policy student at the Harvard Kennedy School. She serves on the Advisory Council to the World Economic Forum’s Trillion Tree platform and the UN FAO’s Forest and Farm Facility. Salina’s academic work explores the impact of corporate social responsibility programs on Eritrea’s rural development, as well as the role of female leadership in economics and finance sectors across Africa. She is the former President of the International Forestry Students’ Association (IFSA) and coordinator of the Youth in Landscapes Initiative.

Introductory Satement

Dr Bärbel Kofler has been a Member of the German Parliament (Bundestag) since 2004 and was appointed Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development on 8 December 2021. From March 2016 to December 2021 she was the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid. In the Bundestag’s 19th electoral term she served on the Committee of Foreign Affairs and was an executive committee member of the SPD parliamentary group.
Bärbel Kofler is a member of the following trade unions: IG BCE (Mining, Chemical and Energy Industrial Union, IG Metall, and GEW (Union of Persons Employed in Education and Science).
The Bavarian Member of the German Parliament is a trained bank clerk, studied computer science at Rosenheim University of Applied Sciences and did a doctorate in linguistics at Salzburg University. After completing her PhD, Bärbel Kofler worked as a DAAD lector in Moscow and as a lecturer at a college for those engaging in civilian service.

Keynote Speaker

Susanne Neubert holds a doctorate in agricultural economics and ecology with a regional focus on Africa. She is the director of the Center for Rural Development (SLE) at Humboldt University Berlin since 2012 and co-author of the Flagship Report „Rethinking Land in the Anthropocene: from Separation to Integration“ of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU). She is a member of the Strategic Advisory Group of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and has more than 30 years of research experience in different institutions, among them the German Institute for Development Policy (DIE), the Berlin Science Center (WZB) and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).

Panel Guests

A lawyer by training, Astrid Schomaker is Director for Green Diplomacy and Multilateralism in the European Commission’s Directorate General for Environment. Since joining the Commission in 1992, she has held a variety of posts in the areas of international relations and environment policy, amongst them leading the work on chemical policy, marine issues and the EU’s environment policy strategy to 2030.

Ms. Baker joined the UNCCD secretariat in March 2011 and served as Coordinator of the External Relations and Policy Unit of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification Secretariat. In this role, Louise led work on policy development, communications, advocacy and partnerships. Originally from a rural farming community in the United Kingdom, in August 2020, Executive Secretary Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw appointed Ms. Louise Baker, as the Managing Director of the Global Mechanism of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). The Global Mechanism supports country level implementation and resource mobilization. Previous United Nations assignments include high-profile public health campaigns on immunization, tuberculosis and tobacco control for the World Health Organization.  She has lived and worked extensively in Central and Eastern Europe and Asia.

Indra Kumara is a forest scientist having held numerous managerial positions in Kapuas Hulu District, West Kalimantan. He was the Head of the Basin and Land Conservation Section, Head of Forest Planning Section, Head of Plantation and Forest Planning Division and Head of Forest Management Division. After two years of coordinating the Sustainable Forest and Biodiversity Management Programme in Borneo, he returned to Kapuas Hulu District, first held a position as Secretary of the Planning Agency and is currently the Secretary of the Environment Agency of Kapuas Hulu district in West Kalimantan. In 2020, he enrolled in the Tropical Biodiversity Conservation Programme of Bogor University as PhD student.

Engineer Laban K. Kiplagat is currently the Director/ Chief Engineer for Agricultural Land and Environment Management in the State department for Crop Development and Agricultural Research at the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives, Kenya. Holding 29 years of work experience at ministry level, he first started as a district agricultural engineer rising through the ranks to become Provincial Irrigation officer before joining National irrigation authority as senior manager and regional Chief engineer. Eng. Kiplagat joined the Ministry of Agriculture in 2018 and deployed to his current position. He also chairs the task force developing the National Agricultural Soil Management, as well as the steering committee on Inter sectoral forum on agro ecology and agro biodiversity (ISFAA), alternate director to the National Irrigation Authority (NIA), as well as other inter-ministerial committees. Eng. Kiplagat has a Bachelor’s Degree in Agricultural Engineering from Egerton University, a Master’s Degree in Project Planning and Management from the University of Nairobi and is currently pursuing a PhD in Project Management at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.


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