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Landscape finance: the key to unlock the EU Green Deal

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TLDR

– Landscape finance is a new financing approach that supports holistic, systemic, and community-driven landscape restoration.

– Holistic landscape restoration can contribute to a more resilient and sustainable future in line with the EU Green Deal’s vision.

Despite the potential for nature restoration to bring benefits for multiple sectors across Europe, the funding gap remains immense and urgent. This is astounding, considering the costs of land degradation for sectors like food and agriculture – soil degradation is estimated to cost EU farmers an average of €1.25 billion a year.

Several international organizations, including the World Resource Institute, Gold Standard, and The Nature Conservancy, have put forward a financing approach known as “Landscape Finance” to address this funding gap. Landscape Finance supports holistic, systemic, and community-driven landscape restoration.

Holistic landscape restoration has ecological, social, and economic benefits. By restoring landscapes and bringing people together, it can build social cohesion and capital among communities while also supporting local and regional economies.

Integrating Landscape Finance into EU policy frameworks and allocating resources to support landscape partnerships are key recommendations for achieving the EU Green Deal. Governments should also redirect or eliminate environmentally harmful incentives, such as subsidies, and align policies to reward nature-positive actions.

Public finance can play a crucial role in holistic landscape restoration. The European Commission should explicitly recognize the value of landscapes in tackling multiple goals and provide guidance on how to incorporate landscape restoration into national restoration plans. The Commission should also develop a mechanism to provide earmarked funding for landscapes and consider a funding program to attract private finance to holistic landscape restoration activities.

Infrastructure investments should adopt a long-term holistic perspective, incorporating the restoration of green infrastructure to enhance climate resilience. EU institutions and member states should provide public funding for landscape restoration initiatives to integrate grey infrastructure projects with improvements in associated green infrastructure.

In conclusion, new financing frameworks like Landscape Finance are needed to support nature restoration and help transition farmers to more regenerative practices. By adopting landscape finance approaches, Europe can achieve the multiple targets set out in the EU Green Deal and create a more resilient and sustainable future.

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