Global Landscape Forum 2018- From the Perspective of Sam Ayanleye; Master of Science in Forestry

“Prior to my studies at UBC, I co-founded an initiative called Eden-world Initiative to combat deforestation, desertification, sand-dune accumulation, and low soil fertility in Nigeria. EWI does this through forestry education, climate change campaigns, tree planting and tree tagging. Coming to Vancouver, British Columbia in August 2018 and being witness to the high level of preparedness and technologies in place to reduce risk, manage disaster, and reduce GHG emissions, has changed my overall perspectives about green environment. I now eagerly follow CIFOR, IUFRO, YPARD and CGIAR and actively seek different ways to learn and challenge my perceptions. This has reinforced my knowledge about forests, different complexities that take place in the forest, and how forests can help in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of 2030. My passion to contribute in the environment not only gave me the push to be involved in the High-Level UN event on Forest and Forest Industries in Vancouver, but also encouraged me to be part of IFSA-UBC Pre-COP event and attend the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) in Bonn, Germany.

On December 2, I was privileged to be one of the delegates of IFSA-UBC who attended the Global Landscapes Forum. For four days, I participated in the Youth in Landscape Workshop, as well as the Finance Plenary. I was amazed by the energies and passion displayed by youths and activists from different disciplines and backgrounds. My experience at GLF has been an added motivation for me to do more with regards to my earth saving acts.

As a participant in the Youth in Landscape Workshop, I learned more about social entrepreneurship, re-thinking limitations to landscape leadership, and how to achieve the SDGs. The workshop featured over 40 promising young leaders ready to move from commitment to action. They raised the voices of the youth at the GLF and used various approaches to inform people about the new ways to think about solutions to our environmental problems. Youth projects such as Plant for the Planet Project were highlighted to showcase “Youths are innovative and positive drivers of positive change which means that including them in actions will help us to achieve SDGs even faster”. This project, with over 70,000 ambassadors, trains people on planting trees and mitigation of climate change. With the help of technology, they aim to plant and monitor 1 billion trees across countries. Seeing youths at the fore-front of action, gave me a new sense of hope for the future. It reinforced for me that human beings have more knowledge and possibilities; we are not challenged of knowledge but only challenged to act.
In this workshop, I was completely dazed at the connection drawn between landscape and Bioenergy and how this knowledge can help solve landscape issues. For example, the wood energy modernization strategy is now being used to fill gaps in the supply and demand for wood energy in some African countries. The creation of the AFRI100 commitment to restore 110 million of degraded lands in Africa is also another example of these approaches providing new opportunities to empower local communities and solve landscape issues.
I was fascinated by the fact that 199 countries already made pledges and 60 countries already committed to incorporating the Land Degradation framework in their landscape approaches. This concept, navigates renewable energy tradeoffs to keep current land in balance and counter balance future land degradation. The role of land use planning and rights of indigenous people was also reiterated throughout this workshop.

The Finance Plenary was comprised of diverse panelists from Africa, Asia, and Europe. The conversations shared here, cemented my understanding of the use of finance in achieving landscape goals. The panel announced that up to USD 450 Billion is needed annually until 2029 to help developing countries of the world adapt to climate change and develop resilience. However, nearing this amount is impossible without the help from the private sector. Conversations revolved around how to use public finance to make restoration projects risk free and investment ready to mobilize private funders. According to Ada Osakwe- CEO of Agrolay Ventures, Nigeria spends about 40 million on food importation even though it is possible for it to grow food with its own resources through proper finance and investment analysis. Ms. Oksakwe further stressed the need for early-stage capital in small-ticket–sized deals. On the other hand, Jane Feehan from the European Investment Bank lamented the high transaction costs for funding numerous small projects. Feehan ended by saying that successful sustainable financial mechanisms, should not be considered innovative, but simply regarded as a good idea and the only right thing to do. Jyotsna Puri-Head, Independent Evaluation Unit of Green Climate Fund spoke on measuring impact. In her keynote speech, she stated that it must be done quantifiably in terms of size and cost and must take into account the three B’s; Bias in how we produce evidence, Benefits, and understanding human Behaviour to design and deliver policies that work “in the last mile”.

This 4-day intense learning experience was life changing as it gave me new ways of approaching problems and helped me realize how multi-level stakeholders can be involved in problem-solving. Lily Tanui, a 19-year-old Environmentalist from Kenya, helped me learn that is important to include the voices of unlikely people in our discussions in order to discover innovative ways of achieving success. The responsibility to protect the environment is not reserved ‘for some of us’ but it is our shared responsibility, so we have to act together.”


Sam Ayanleye
Master of Science
Faculty of Forestry