Third Open Science Meeting of the Global Land Programme
The Global Land Programme, one of Future Earth’s core projects, has held the third of its biennial open science meetings. The event was hosted by the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) and took place in Beijing, China, on 24–27 October 2016. In response to the recently endorsed Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the meeting focused on “Land system science: understanding realities and developing solutions”. Close to 700 participants discussed social-ecological interactions around land use, bridging disciplines and different levels of scale. They brought together clear evidence that longstanding land uses such as food production, forestry, and pasture are facing fierce competition from land claims originating from newly emerging sectors, higher levels, and distant places: examples include land-based climate mitigation, industrial food production spurred by rapidly changing diets, and ecosystem services demanded by urban centres, to name just a few. Implementation of the SDGs may further increase competing claims on scarce land resources. A second major insight from the meeting, therefore, is that research into emerging opportunities for land-based innovations and co-design of sustainable land systems can play a strong role in alleviating competition over land, and can thereby significantly support progress towards the SDGs. Finally, the meeting once again confirmed the fundamental importance of interdisciplinary and multilevel perspectives on land use in managing trade-offs and developing sustainable development pathways. The Global Land Programme will now work to strengthen its transformative potential by intensifying its competence in knowledge co-production and in the establishment of science–policy interfaces with non-academic partners at national and international levels.
Ariane de Bremond
International Program Office
Global Land Project
Centre for Development and Environment
University of Bern
3012 Bern, Switzerland