To deepen understanding of links between land degradation and human security and to build the trust needed for effective collaboration on the ground and in ‘land-peace partnerships’.
Peace, development and environmental sustainability are usually promoted separately. However, they can often only be achieved together. This is especially so where dry or degraded lands put populations under pressure. More than 75% of the world’s conflicts occur in dryland areas (see diagram), which are home to just 35% of the world’s population.
The world’s drylands (click to enlarge)While many people are aware of the rapid speed of desertification (1% of agricultural land lost each year), few understand that deserts are often manmade. And fewer still realize that by applying simple techniques, lost land can be restored to sustainable productive use, enhancing food security. And on top of this, improved management of the world’s land represents 1/3rd of the overall global climate change abatement potential by 2030.
Where land degradation is occurring and restoration is not happening, the primary reasons are often not technical or financial, but are connected to lack of trust or actual conflict. Change in human attitudes, behaviour and relationships, which is the principle focus of Initiatives of Change (IofC), are key to achieving both peace and land restoration.
The Initiatives for Land, Lives and Peace (ILLP) programme has been set up as a programme of IofC International to promote peace-building through land restoration. The Steering Group is chaired by Dr Martin Frick, Representative of Germany to the International Organizations based in Germany, and the Executive Committee is drawn from various IofC bodies from around the world. It works by:
- promoting and demonstrating changes in human relationships and attitudes as a key condition for both peace and land restoration
- bringing together stakeholders in an atmosphere of mutual trust to facilitate partnerships for land restoration and to spread the experience and methodology of trust-building
- advocating policies and practices which favour peace, trust-building & land restoration, which draw on the long experience of IofC in trust-building, reconciliation and breaking down human barriers to progress
Land restoration can indeed be a path to building sustainable peace, locally and globally. At the same time, peace is a prerequisite for restoring land. Changes in human attitudes, behaviour and relationships are a key to achieving both.