Newly launched tool LIFTs the availability of finance for integrated landscape management
IUCN NL and Ecoagriculture Partners have just launched a trial version of the Landscape Investment and Finance Tool (LIFT) to the public. The tool has been developed in response to a lack of investors financing integrated landscape projects. Its 3-part modular design will enable landscape leaders and investors to more effectively coordinate financing.
By definition, integrated landscape investments contribute to multiple elements of landscape sustainability including production, ecosystems, biodiversity, and livelihoods; yet they also rely on landscape stakeholders and investors to work collaboratively. Seth Shames from Ecoagriculture outlines: “Despite the recent surge in green finance most investors are still using models that focus on a single objective within a landscape, such as agricultural production, or ecosystem health.” Whilst investment plays a critical role in the development of sustainable landscapes, investment models with multiple objectives and multiple stakeholders have been hard to come by.
Helping assemble an efficient finance strategy
So what happens, in the Philippines for instance, when funding is needed across multiple projects on the one landscape? Such as wind power, watershed service, education and cocoa development. How do multiple stakeholders effectively manage finance and mitigate conflicts? In response to this issue, Jan Willem den Besten from IUCN NL, suggests that: “Creative solutions are needed to figure out investment design that generate financial, environmental and social values.”
Both Ecoagriculture and IUCN NL joined the dots and have quite literally ‘lifted’ the haze on the matter with the collaborative development of the LIFT toolkit. The Landscape Investment and Finance Tool (LIFT) includes a set of 3 modules, helping landscape leaders develop and prioritise investment cases, pursue suitable investors and assemble an efficient finance strategy for their landscape priorities.
“LIFT helps landscape partnerships, project developers and potential investors overcome (finance) complexity so that they can all benefit from successfully integrated landscape investments”, says Den Besten.
First prototype successful
The first prototype, released in August in the Philippines, was a huge success and has led to a second trial on the Northern Coastal Zone of Honduras with Solidaridad. Many more landscape projects have shown interest in the tool. Ongoing monitoring from the trials in the Philippines and Honduras will account for the continual improvement of the design of the tool. The developers have already uncovered the need for an additional segment to the tool which relates to business planning and social enterprise development.