Integrated Landscape Management (ILM) is an approach meant to foster collaboration between different land interests across entire regions. From improved agriculture to the protection of biodiversity and ecosystems, ILM works towards the health and well-being of rural and urban centers alike. Financing for ILM projects, however, is often confronted with many of the same competing interests as traditional land management itself. A new report by Landscapes for People, Food and Nature, Financing Strategies for Integrated Landscape Investment, offers an in-depth look at the opportunities and challenges in investment and funding of ILM projects.
The report outlines two kinds of investment: enabling investment and asset investment.
Enabling investments tend to be based on institutional and policy actions that encourage investors to devote assets to an activity or sector. For example, the World Bank provides enabling investment through its BioCarbon Fund, which aims to support ‘climate-smart land-use and deliver multiple landscape-level benefits,’ while Nestlé engages in enabling investment through working on supply chain security and sustainable agriculture.
Asset investments build on enabling investments and are intended to create tangible value for the investors or land managers. These investments can be in the form of support for farm and non-farm activities, and ideally offer multiple returns on investment in the form of financial, social, and environmental benefits.
Some of the main challenges to gaining ILM financing include the dispersed nature of funding, such as targeted investments that are each only available for a specific area of activity.
As the report states, “Agricultural finance institutions still focus on field, farm, and supply chain levels while conservation and climate change funds largely focus on single objectives such as water, biodiversity, climate change mitigation, or adaptation.”
The authors of the report suggest the development of innovative tools between public and private institutions, as well as a more balanced approach to risk assessment and risk management in order to scale up ILM financing that grows beyond the ‘sector-based approaches’ that still define most land use investment strategies.