1. Establish a Landscape Partnership

The planet needs our help, and we need each other. Collaborating in a landscape partnership balances the strengths and requirements of all stakeholders. 

A wide range of people and organisations from all walks of life need to pull together to tackle the challenges of large-scale landscape restoration. By establishing a landscape partnership, landscape stakeholders gain an essential platform where they come together. This multi-stakeholder partnership serves as an organising structure, facilitating governance and coordination among parties. It provides an inclusive space where stakeholders can share their unique interests, perspectives, and abilities. Over time, a strong coalition develops across different sectors and communities based on a shared vision. As trust grows, so does deeper engagement and collaborative action. 

In this section, the chapter, Cultivating a lasting partnership, delves into the challenges and strategies for building resilient, long-lasting landscape partnerships. It emphasises the importance of a shared vision and how diverse landscape stakeholders contribute to resilience. The chapter also covers the significance of trust, celebrating differences, and handling conflicts. It looks at the evolution of partnerships over time, formalising structures, establishing effective teams, and scaling up impact through further collaboration. 

The chapter, Creating spaces of belonging, introduces the processes needed for meaningful, inclusive, and participatory change in landscape restoration. It focuses on Theory U, a transformation framework created by Otto Scharmer, senior lecturer at MIT. Theory U works well with the 4 Returns framework because it is specifically suited to reaching transformative outcomes. It is also the method with which the 4 Returns framework has been tested over the past ten years. Other methods can be suitable as well. This chapter also looks at the Mutual Gains Approach, which is part of the Consensus Building process. 

Envisaged outcomes

  • Partnership interest and potential confirmed. Before setting up a partnership, it is essential that everyone involved knows what it is about and why it’s important. Partners should understand that they need each other to solve problems in the landscape.
  • A strong coalition. Landscape stakeholders draft a mobilisation strategy detailing how groups will be consulted and engaged. Typically, this involves implementing elaborate stakeholder engagement processes (for example, Theory U or the Mutual Gains Approach). Establishing a governance structure for the partnership is crucial for creating a structured and reviewable plan during the landscape planning process.
  • Landscape stakeholders identified a shared purpose. Achieving broad agreement on the need to transition the landscape from degradation to regeneration is essential for initiating the partnership. Ideally, the intention of the initial stakeholder group to collaborate is formalised in a letter of intent, a memorandum of understanding, or in a partnership agreement. This document may need adjustments when more stakeholders join the initiative.

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