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Discussion Forum Application Guidelines

The organizers of the 2015 Global Landscapes Forum, to be held in Paris on 5–6 December, are calling for applications by organizations to host Discussion Forums at the event. The 2015 Global Landscapes Forum is expected to be the largest event in Paris outside the COP itself, with an expected 2000 participants, including international media. Since its inception three years ago, the Global Landscapes Forum has become the leading platform for bringing together government, research, civil society and business from across the range of sectors that affect land-use decisions, including forestry, agriculture, water management and finance.

Why host a Discussion Forum?

In Discussion Forums, participants explore in depth a particular topic under one or more of the Forum’s themes. Discussion Forums are the main avenue for stakeholder exchange, where hosts have an opportunity to inform policy makers and practitioners about the newest findings from research and practice, and engage new and existing audiences in their work and ideas. Parallel Discussion Forums will take place over both days of the Forum. Results of discussions will feed directly into the Global Landscapes Forum’s outcomes, thanks to notes by the nominated Rapporteurs.

What topics can Discussion Forums address?

Following are brief summaries of the themes for the Forum. Organizers strongly encourage integrated proposals that address more than one theme.

1. Landscape Restoration

In light of recent international initiatives recognizing the role of landscape restoration in achieving sustainable development, Discussion Forums under this theme will consider progress made, reflect on lessons learned, and showcase approaches for making landscape restoration a success. Topics might cover analysis and planning for restoration, tools and approaches to implementing and evaluating production and/or conservation outcomes, and delivery of key ecosystem goods and services to support livelihoods.

Sessions could address:

· Assessing progress towards the Bonn challenge and other global restoration goals;

· Land and soil degradation

· Experiences with / lessons learned from large-scale restoration

· Optimizing forest landscape restoration outcomes for livelihoods;

· Investment opportunities in restoration

· Institutional, governance and biophysical challenges during project design and implementation

· Biodiversity offsets, zero deforestation and landscape restoration

· Economic incentives for landscape restoration and investment opportunities

· Measuring progress: cost-effective monitoring for decision making

· Collective action and innovation in multi-stakeholder governance structures in support of restoration

· Beyond tree planting: the role of natural forest regeneration as a restoration tool

· Restoring landscapes for food security.

2. Rights and tenure

Land rights and tenure were prominent topics throughout Discussion Forums and plenaries at the 2014 Global Landscapes Forum. The 2014 outcome statement presents a range of follow-up questions. Disputes around tenure place limitations on the effectiveness of climate and development initiatives such as REDD+ and private investments in land-use sectors for sustainable land management. At the same time, an increased flow of finance into developing countries will have profound impacts on formal and informal institutions.

Sessions could address:

· Rights of indigenous peoples

· Legal frameworks and law

· Large-scale land investments and rights

· REDD+ safeguards and governance

· Institutions incentivizing sustainable resource use – lessons learned

· Gender and women’s empowerment.

3. Finance and trade

Participants at the 2014 Global Landscapes Forum reported in a survey that the involvement of the private sector – both in plenary speaking roles and contributions to Discussion Forums – was a strength of the event. After the Forum, participants from both private and public sector institutions identified several key issues that they would like to debate in more detail. Access to finance for rural communities is inadequate and comes at high interest rates. Similarly, current levels of funding for REDD+ and other conservation and climate initiatives are insufficient and unreliable. In this context, innovative solutions in the financial sphere and efforts by the private sector to change and improve practices could lead to increased investments into sustainable land use. At the same time, the potential for changed practices on a large scale remains unknown, the challenge of effectiveness still lies ahead, and more research is needed on the indicators that help track the impacts such investments have on communities’ livelihoods and ecosystems.

Sessions could address:

· Corporate sustainable value chains and tracking no-deforestation commitments

· Impacts of Sustainable and Responsible Investments (SRI) tools for Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) performance

· Progress in the capitalization and operations of the Green Climate Fund

· Critical changes in the financial framework

· Policy, fiscal and legal reforms: taxation, subsidies, tariffs and perverse incentives

· Assessing the impact of investments on communities, livelihoods and ecosystems

· Private sector engagement in REDD+

· Closing the REDD+ finance gap

· Real potential for payments for ecosystem services to deliver at scale

· Innovative financing mechanisms

· Financing mitigation and adaptation in agricultural landscapes.

4. Achieving climate and development goals

In 2015, world leaders are set to agree on new climate and development goals. Tracking the progress countries make in achieving these goals will be critical in coming years. Whereas the 2014 Forum focused on the newest scientific findings pointing to the critical role of landscapes for climate and development goals, sessions in 2015 will aim to identify and potentially launch the tools and instruments needed to measure progress at the landscape level.

Sessions could address:

· Measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) of climate and development goals in land-use sectors

· Technology and innovation in monitoring land-use change

· Developing knowledge-support tools

· Multi-stakeholder engagement in monitoring

· The role of independent monitoring and assessment tools

· Emissions reporting – turning land-use change numbers into measures of impact on the atmosphere

· Assessing the social and environmental impact of private sector zero-deforestation commitments

· The role of landscapes in SDG targets and indicators.

5. Wild card topics

The organizers will also accept session proposals addressing “wild card topics” – those issues that applicants feel are important in the Forum’s context, yet unrelated to existing themes.

What is the format of Discussion Forums?

Each Discussion Forum will last for 90 minutes and may feature up to four speakers. Host organizations have discretion to design the format of their sessions. We strongly encourage hosts to explore new approaches to facilitating interactive discussions. Upon request, the organizers can offer ideas for knowledge sharing and facilitation techniques.

We ask that hosts of the Discussion Forums aim for balanced representation of stakeholder groups when selecting speakers, with particular consideration of the following:

· Gender

· Regional representation

· Organizational interests: development practitioners, donor organizations, governments, research organizations, private sector, NGOs, Indigenous Peoples’ organizations, etc.

· Age: The Forum encourages a strong presence of young professionals; organizers can suggest youth speakers

· Only one speaker may represent the host organization.

At least 30 minutes of the session should be set aside for interactive discussions or other knowledge-sharing activities. Discussion Forum hosts are required to submit a list of up to five papers or studies for background reading to be included on the Global Landscapes Forum website (landscapes.org).

What does the host fee cover?

Hosting a Discussion Forum costs USD 15,000. This fee goes toward covering the costs of organizing the Global Landscapes Forum, the venue and supporting technology. Discussion Forums can hold up to 300 people.

All rooms will be fully equipped with audio and visual technology, accommodating translations (simultaneous English – French). The organizers cover the costs for coffee. Discussion Forum hosts are entitled to 25 complimentary tickets to the Global Landscapes Forum.

Rooms are set up in theater style for participants, the stage can accommodate a maximum of six single chairs and one lectern.

Organizations may choose to host a Discussion Forum jointly, and costs can be shared or covered by a funding partner of the hosting organization.

All Discussion Forum co-hosts will receive logo representation on print and online material. Discussion Forums will be advertised on the website, in newsletters, through social media and on the print agenda.

Fees may be adjusted for organizations from developing countries or others on an exceptional basis, following approval by the Steering Committee. The organizers of the Discussion Forums are required to cover the costs of speakers and extra logistics for their sessions.

If you have any questions regarding costs and payments, please contac