The Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) hosted a two-day online conference focussing on the relationship between the landscape approach to ecosystem management, and the One Health approach to public health. The resounding conclusion from the event was that human health must not just be an outcome of the landscape approach, but must also be an initial objective – i.e. there is a clear need to integrate One Health into the landscape approach.
One Health is the concept that the health of humans and ecosystems are all inextricably linked, and that deterioration of one will affect the integrity of the others. The landscape approach to ecosystem management (which is championed by the GLF) aims to reconcile competing objectives for land use to achieve a ‘triple bottom line’ balancing social, economic and environmental objectives. It is now recognised that sustainable development – including the support of ecosystems – is not possible without realising the One Health approach.
Nature-based solutions were a major topic of discussion during the conference because they are a key component of landscape approaches to ecosystem management. However, some speakers noted resistance to the use of the term NbS. Specifically, they were concerned that NbS is being used for greenwashing by large corporations (i.e. an excuse for not cutting emissions). We agree that unless underpinned by stringent commitments to decarbonize, there is a serious risk that the promotion of NbS as offsets can disincentivise the transition to a low carbon economy. However, this should not undermine the use of the term itself. The NbS community instead must continue to clarify the multiple benefits of NbS and be clear on the importance of investing in NbS in tangent with deep decarbonization. Other panellists raised concerns that the abundance of acronyms for green concepts can lead to confusion, and distract from the nuances of the actions themselves. Overall, the apparent consensus was that we should stop inventing new terms wherever possible, and stick to those that have already become widely used (such as NbS). In addition, avoiding using jargon where possible, and using language that means the most to specific stakeholders, would be advantageous. Greater effort is also needed to describe actions in detail, including all necessary safeguards, to avoid broad-stroke statements which do little to avoid actions that violate ecological and social integrity, equity and justice. Similar concerns were raised in a COP26 coalition session.
Some other key take-homes from the event were:
Read the GLF summary of the conference here.Tweet