NLandscape: connecting partners operating in the area of landscapes
In order to realize the potential of Dutch landscape knowledge, and get the integrated landscape approach to a higher level of policy uptake and implementation, NLandscape, the Dutch knowledge platform on landscape approaches, was established in October 2017. A year later, NLandscape reflects on what has been achieved so far and expresses its future ambitions. The F&BKP funded and supported learning activities and as such contributed to the further development of NLandscape as a platform.
The final report of NLandscape reflects on the objectives that were set-up initially, and synthesizes the key learnings from the knowledge sessions that were organized around the five themes of finance, gender, food & nutrition security (FNS), governance and water. A tool package is presented which can be used to analyse the topics above and function as starting point for any integrated landscape approach.
The NLandscape initiative is a platform which brings together the knowledge and networks of over 30 Netherlands-based organisations implementing international programmes with landscape approaches from different perspectives. The platform is hosted by the Centre for Development Innovation of Wageningen University (WCDI), in partnership with Beagle Sustainable Solutions.
Objectives of the platform are to:
- Mobilize and interconnect Dutch development partners through an active knowledge network
- Generate new insights on how the landscape approach can lead to innovations
- Provide input to capacity development on the landscape approach
- Contribute directly to the international landscape debate
The main aim of NLandscape is to create synergy in which knowledge and insights on how to apply an integrated landscape approach are generated. In order to achieve this, a series of knowledge sessions was organized, on topics such as: landscape finance, landscape and gender, landscape governance,and food & nutrition The sessions were set up in an interactive manner and included tools, case studies, presentations, discussions and group work, to support mutual learning. An overview of the themes and key learnings is presented in the report. Full reports of each of the sessions and accompanying documents can be found on www.nlandscape.nl. In addition, NLandscape members joined the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) in Bonn and shared their experiences with the whole platform. Finally, sessions organized by NLandscape members were hosted by the platform.
The platform managed to mobilize and interconnect Dutch development partners around the topic of integrated landscape approaches and their implementation. The platform succeeded in connecting stakeholders, raised general levels of understanding on how to apply integrated landscape approaches in practice, and identified the knowledge gaps and capacity needs. Links have been created around key themes, forming a first step towards several Communities of Practice.
NLandscape has helped members to learn what a landscape perspective entails. In general, it was found that landscape approaches are more complicated than they seem and in many cases truly integrated landscape approaches were not applied. A collective insight was that more knowledge is needed on integrated landscape approaches in general. A few obstacles in successfully applying a landscape approach were found to be a lack of knowledge. Simultaneously, insights in the potential role of the private sector in landscape financing was obtained. Involvement of all stakeholders has been highlighted as particularly important. The role of women was highlighted as often being key in making landscape approaches successful.
Key to all the above is that documentation and sharing should be done in a more consistent and open manner. Sharing findings and experiences is crucial to build up collective knowledge and capacity to apply landscape approaches. A more formal connection to the Global Landscapes Forum would be a crucial step to upscale Netherlands-based learning to an international level.
NLandscape has successfully connected the most important partners operating in the area of landscapes. NLandscape was mostly considered as a network to meet others and learn from their work. The knowledge sessions have contributed to the creation of more general insights on what an integrated landscape approach entails and how this approach can be utilized to address global issues. A truly integrated landscape approach is invaluable yet complex to apply in practice. Lacking consensus on the definition of a landscape approach, limited knowledge on landscape financing and the difficulty of fully integrating a landscape approach in existing structures are but a few barriers.
In the future, the role of private sector engagement in landscape approaches and landscape finance will need more attention. A start will be made by including finance as a topic in the Landscape Academy, an online curriculum on landscape approaches currently in the making. Furthermore, two additional courses are under development, about Landscape Governance and Landscape Leadership.
NLandscape has illustrated the importance of having real life case studies, bring in evidence, and generate lessons learned on landscape approaches in its widest interpretation. NLandscape forms an essential instrument in creating strategic partnerships, finding smart investment opportunities and positioning Dutch knowledge of the landscape approach in international debates, and therefore intends to be continued.