We are consuming the foundations of our existence - the forests and the oceans, freshwater systems and the soil, at a rate faster than our planet can replenish.
Local, regional and national policies that address the degradation of ecosystems exist and they work: we recognise that these exemplary policies need to be sought out, promoted and scaled up.
Through our Future Policy Award on Food Security in 2009, Biodiversity in 2010, Forests in 2011 and Oceans and Coasts in 2012, we have been identifying and celebrating policies that successfully conserve or manage our vital ecosystems. After the Awards, we begin the political engagement phase with parliamentary hearings to raise awareness, share lessons learnt and spread best practice policies among legislators.
Below you will find more information on all our work under the Sustainable Ecosystems theme, with a detailed analysis on the linkages between climate and agriculture, plus how we are following up on previous years’ Future Policy Award.
The agriculture and food sector is not only a victim of climate change, it is also a major contributor to the acceleration of global warming.
This section of the WFC website explains the mutual relationship between food and agriculture and climate change.
Consequently, food and agriculture provide for a huge climate mitigation potential. The development of climate-resilient farming systems is a major challenge for policy makers and a comparatively new discipline. We need policies for a global food system based on biology, not chemistry, one that will feed us indefinitely if we treat the soil right. To this end, the WFC website presents a selection of best policy concepts.
Please download our brochure on Cultivating the Future: Food in the Age of Climate Change
for additional information.
In 2009 the Future Policy Award celebrated successful policies for Food Security and the Human Right to Food. Policies were nominated that create fair and sustainable food systems, working towards ensuring access to adequate food for all citizens. Read more about the Future Policy Award and download the brochure Celebrating the Belo Horizonte Food Security Programme.
With financial support from the Schweisfurth Foundation.
Biodiversity encompasses ecosystems, species and genetic diversity. We are currently losing species 100 to 1000 times faster than what is seen in the fossil record due to habitat destruction, pollution and climate change. In recent decades, even some common species such as bumblebees have been declining, species that we rely on to sustain food production and for basic ecosystem functions.
In 2010, governments agreed upon a Strategic Plan for Biodiversity for 2011-2020, with targets for conservation and sustainable use at the tenth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP-10). The World Future Council has a strategic partnership with the Convention on Biological Diversity and is committed to enabling parliaments to implement the CBD targets. We collectively failed to meet our 2010 target to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss, so the WFC aims to inform parliamentary processes to assist in meeting the CBD targets for 2020.
In 2010, Costa Rica’s Biodiversity Law won the Future Policy Award on Biodiversity as it demonstrated clear commitment to the three objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity: conservation of biodiversity, sustainable use of resources, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilisation of genetic resources.
Please see here for more information on the winners of the 2010 Future Policy Award.
In cooperation with the Global Legislators Organisation (GLOBE) International, the WFC is implementing the “GLOBE-WFC Visionary Biodiversity Law Programme”. The first phase of the programme was culminated in a Biodiversity Session at the World Summit of Legislators hosted by GLOBE in Rio de Janeiro to complement the governmental process at Rio+20. The second phase of the programme was a Biodiversity Session at the Legislators Biodiversity Forum which was hold in parallel with the 11th Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP-11) in Hyderabad, India in October 2012.
Following on from the legislators’ forums, national and regional parliamentary hearings will be convened to promote the winning policies and support parliaments by providing the tools to exercise effective control on executive bodies for the implementation of the biodiversity targets.
Forests for People Alliance in Africa
We are currently setting up a five-year project (2013 – 2017) aiming at creating a committed alliance of change agents – parliamentarians, policy makers, and experts – that are able to start, develop and carry forward a concerted best policy initiative for the sustainable management and conservation of forests in Africa. Our project calls especially for the implementation of exemplary best policies. The role of the World Future Council is that of a facilitator: We will deliver research and evaluation, set up the infrastructure for dialogue, engage with change agents, organize annual hearings and thus enable best policy implementation. Topics will include sustainable forest management, sustainable woodfuels, land tenure, gender issues and agroforestry.
Background: The 2011 Future Policy Award
In 2011, we crowned the National Forest Policy of Rwanda with our Future Policy Award. The aim of the award is to raise awareness for exemplary policies and speed up policy action. The prized policies are meant to serve as an inspiration. Rwanda’s National Forest Policy won the 2011 Future Policy Award as the world’s most inspiring and innovative forest policy. Despite continuing population and land pressures, Rwanda is on course to achieving a major reversal in the trend of declining forest cover.
Forest cover has already increased by 37 per cent since 1990. Massive reforestation and planting activities that involved the local population were undertaken, and new measures such as agroforestry and education on forest management were implemented.
The Gambian Forest Policy initiated in 1995 was awarded with the Silver Future Policy Award 2011. The Gambian model of community forest management aims to achieve sustainable forest management and poverty alleviation by handing control of forests to the communities that use them. Despite being one of the world’s poorest countries with a rapidly growing population, the Gambian government has managed a net increase in forest coverage of 8.5 per cent over the last two decades. A Silver Future Policy Award 2011 was also granted to the USA’s Lacey Act with the amendment of 2008. With its new amendment the Lacey Act become a powerful tool to tackle illegal trade in timber and in illegally harvested protected plants and trees.
The award was celebrated in New York, USA in co-operation with the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, the UN Forum on Forests, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN.
Please see here for more information on the winners of the 2011 Future Policy Award.
Read more about the Future Policy Award 2011 and download the brochure Celebrating the world’s best forest policies.
The 2012 Kigali Declaration
In 2012, we convened an Inter-Parliamentary Hearing in Rwanda's capital Kigali with the support of the Rwanda Ministry of Natural Resources, the Rwanda Natural Resources Authority (RNRA), the Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF), the FAO and GLOBE International. Parliamentarians, policymakers and experts from Burundi, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia made the commitment to take back to their countries the ideas, policies and successful experiences, to initiate and gain support for their implementation. The delegates have further committed to achieving sustainable forest management, facilitate effective programs on afforestation, reforestation and restoration of degraded lands, implement agroforestry and to develop a policy and legislative basis for community based forest management as declared in the ‘Kigali Declaration on Forests for People’. Participants have decided to meet on an annual basis to share their experiences and report on national progress in implementing the Kigali Declaration.
Please find more information in our book "Forests for People".
Please see the full Kigali Declaration here.
Humanity depends on the ocean for its survival. Yet our oceans and coasts are under severe threat from human activities: overfishing and destructive fishing practices, habitat destruction, pollution, climate change and ocean acidification.
The World Future Council recognizes that without urgent political action managing these activities, future generations may not benefit from vital ecosystem services such as food security or storm protection derived from marine environments.
Future Policy Award 2012 on Oceans and Coasts
In 2012 the World Future Council’s Future Policy Award celebrated exemplary policies for Oceans and Coasts. We have requested nominations from international organisations and leading ocean experts and announced the winning policies at the United Nations Headquarters in September 2012.
The winners of the 2012 Future Policy Award were presented the Awards at a ceremony in Hyderabad on 16 October, during the 11th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, which was attended by invited high-level representatives from government, business, international organisations, civil society and the media. A brochure about the Award and the winners was produced and presented at the ceremony.
For a detailed analysis of the winning policies, including key elements for effective and long-term sustainable solutions for oceans and coasts as well as recommendations to policy-makers, please visit our online toolkit here.
The Future Justice team has highlighted bottom-trawling, one of the most destructive forms of fishing practices as a case of Future Injustice as it damages the seabed, results in high levels of by-catch and devastates local fisheries and the livelihoods of the local fisher communities. Please see here for more information on bottom-trawling and its impacts.