Every minute, forest covering an area of 20 football pitches was lost. Forest loss accounted for eleven per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. Land productivity had seen a 20 per cent decline over the past 15 years, with small farmers bearing the brunt of degradation. Addressing land-use issues required an approach connecting ecological, socioeconomic and institutional issues, Schmitz concluded, backing the GLF approach. “Investing in rural development means investing in the future,” he noted. 

Unsustainable land use “biggest problem” 

While referring to the GLF as a master plan for sustainable development, Jochen Flasbarth, State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) warned that the world was still “galaxies away from sustainable development”, with the biggest problem, unsustainable land use, remaining un-tackled. Forty per cent of the world’s population were affected by land degradation, which itself was causing ten per cent of GHG emissions.