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Land use is central to many of the environmental and socio-economic issues facing society today. The production of agricultural and forestry goods, which are fundamental to human well-being, has profound consequences for biodiversity and climate change. For example, the Global Assessment by IPBES estimates that 25% of animal and plant species are facing extinction, in part due to the loss and degradation of ecosystems, and the IPCC estimates that 23% of global anthropogenic emissions came from agriculture and land use between 2007 and 2016. Further, a rising global population and changes in consumption patterns towards more carbon-intensive diets are expected to place a growing strain on global land-use systems.

The twin challenges of reversing biodiversity declines and mitigating climate change, while producing sufficient food to ensure zero hunger, must be tackled together. Making land-use systems sustainable is central to achieving these – and other – Sustainable Development Goals.

This report, Towards Sustainable Land use: Aligning biodiversity, climate and food policies, provides good practice insights on how governments can transition to more sustainable land-use systems. It draws on experiences and insights across six case study countries, characterised by large agricultural and forestry sectors and associated greenhouse gas emissions, which in many cases also host globally important biodiversity. These countries are Brazil, France, Indonesia, Ireland, Mexico and New Zealand where emissions from agriculture ranged from 13-49% of their total greenhouse gas emissions (excluding land use, land-use change and forestry) in 2016. The report highlights how governments can facilitate the creation of coherent policies for sustainable land use at three important points in the governance process: relevant national strategies and action plans; institutional co-ordination; and the design and implementation of policy instruments (including comprehensive spatial planning).

We need to better understand and manage the synergies and trade-offs inherent in land-use systems, so they can deliver multiple benefits to society and nature. This report is for policy makers and practitioners operating in the land-use, biodiversity, climate and food nexus. I believe it provides valuable guidance on how to help address these challenging, yet crucially important, objectives.

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Rodolfo Lacy

OECD Environment Director

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