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I was recently invited to contribute to a concept paper (2.2mb PDF) authored and edited by Willem Ferwerda.

Mr. Ferwerda, a tropical ecologist, was director of the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) National Committee of The Netherlands from 2000 until March 2012. In his new role Ferwerda will support the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM) in making businesses and investors work for ecosystem restoration and management. As Chair of the Board of Patrons he will be actively involved in rolling out Leaders for Nature internationally.

This paper was compiled to serve as:

A plea for the establishment of an international mechanism that actively creates collaborative Ecosystem Restoration Partnerships between businesses, investors, business schools, civil society organizations, farmers and local people, that international restoration targets will be reached, investments will be returned, and practical lessons are learned by working together.

One of the many contributors to this paper is Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). Quoting his statements from the paper’s introduction:

Land degradation, climate change, biodiversity loss, new markets for natural resources: each has highlighted the need for society to ‘come to terms with nature’ if we are to ensure a safe place for humanity’s development within planetary boundaries.

Our understanding of the true value of nature and the real prosperity we derive from it is more controversial than ever before. Nature cannot be seen as something different and separate from society but still needs to be appreciated as a force beyond humanity’s control. The gap between our vast capacity to transform the natural environment and our limited ability to control the impact of our activity on that environment and the services it provides, has had untold repercussions for the entire planet.

It is one of the major contradictions and critical considerations for contemporary society. Prevailing attempts to resolve this contradiction through narrow managerialism have been woefully insufficient to address the mounting crisis. Existing institutions and mechanisms cannot resolve the ecological crisis on their own. New solutions or better and different approaches are needed for sustainable management of natural capital.

This is where permaculture and other related design systems enter into the picture. We are in the midst of discussing ways in which permaculture training may form the basis for "vocational training centers" to be established which would play a central role in developing people with the skills needed to meaningfully put this agenda into motion.

Download the concept paper here:

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