EIT Climate-KIC shines at the GLF Bonn Digital Conference, the year’s largest global digital conference on the environment

EIT Climate-KIC’s Director of Sustainable Land Use and member of the Landscapes as Carbon Sinks Deep Demonstration, Daniel Zimmer, as well as Designer & Producer – Innovation & Engagement and member of the Deep Demonstration of Resilient Food Systems and Diets, Pernille Martiny Modvig, shared their expertise on landscapes and food systems at the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) Bonn Digital Conference.

With the motto “Rethinking food systems for human and planetary health,” the 2020 edition of the Global Landscapes Forum conference was held online. During the three days (3-5 June) of this global conference, almost 5,000 people from 185 countries attended one of its 60 sessions. Additionally, the live broadcast of the sessions received over 77,000 views and reached 50 million people on social media. 

The emergence of zoonotic diseases (infectious diseases transmitted between humans and other animals) like COVID-19 have links to deforestation, and food production and consumption, revealing a responsibility to transform our food and land systems to secure human and planetary well-being. This has instigated a global conversation on how to “build back better” as well as a call for a green recovery plan. The current health crisis acted as an important frame for the conference.

Relevant to this frame, EIT Climate-KIC presented its strategy for European climate action, Transformation, in time. The strategy describes how EIT Climate-KIC plans to catalyse systemic change through innovation in areas of human activity that have a critical impact on greenhouse gas emissions and climate resilience: Land use, materials, cities and finance.

Leveraging his expertise on landscapes, Daniel Zimmer moderated a panel on how strong alliances can achieve a sustainable future. The session’s main insight was that human and environmental rights, trustful multi-stakeholder partnerships and taking strategic risks are key to scaling landscape programmes in the coming years.

The full session may be viewed here.

In her session, Pernille Martiny Modvig reminded the audience that Europe is in a state of climate emergency and that the EU Commission President Van der Leyen, as early as November 2019, called for a systemic response.

She added: “COVID-19 has shown us we are capable of reacting quickly, comprehensively and systemically in response to the crisis as a society.” She referred to the usefulness of the lessons learned from managing the health crisis, to address an “emerging food crisis due to climate change and biodiversity loss.” 

Understanding the speed of climate action so far has been insufficient, Martiny Modvig told the audience that, in order to act six times faster to reach zero-emissions in time, it’s necessary to change the traditional approach to innovation towards a systemic one. 

Martiny Modvig described food systems as incredibly complex, saying you can’t create lasting change by simply adjusting the pieces along the value chain. If we are to create fair and resilient change, we need to consider that farmers, retailers and consumers alike will be affected and this will have social, political, financial and cultural implications.

Martiny Modvig’s full sessions may be viewed here and here.

Both Daniel Zimmer and Pernille Martiny Modvig are involved in EIT Climate-KIC Deep Demonstrations, Landscapes as Carbon Sinks and Resilient Food Systems & Diets respectively. These programmes act as demonstrators of the organisation’s strategy, Transformation, in time, and were designed to meet the increasing demand for EIT Climate-KIC’s role as an orchestrator of systems innovation. EIT Climate-KIC’s systems innovation model uses a balanced portfolio of interventions—across education, technological innovation, citizen engagement, policy, finance, etc.—to catalyse fast decarbonisation and drive climate adaptation.

Learn more about EIT Climate-KIC’s Deep Demonstrations.