Kemper stressed that healthy landscapes were a vital prerequisite for achieving the World Bank’s goal of eliminating poverty by 2030. While natural capital formed the foundation of prosperity, it only represented nine per cent of wealth globally. The key to sustainable development was to develop human capital and decouple natural resource use from growth. Kemper warned that biodiversity loss was causing as great a danger as climate change. In particular, the world was heading for a collapse of its global insect population. It was therefore vital to focus on landscapes, which offered a key opportunity to bring about change. 

In his keynote address, Yacouba Sawadogo, a farmer from Burkina Faso, told participants how he had combatted desertification by applying simple methods to keep rainwater from flowing away and using manure following a severe drought in the 1980s. Sawadogo, who received the Right Livelihood Award for his efforts to resist soil degradation, also started planting trees and has created an almost 40 hectare forest with a wide variety of trees and bushes on what used to be barren and abandoned land.