27 Leaders for Better Land Management in ASEAN

The smiling faces of participants at the ACLP virtual closing ceremony (10 December 2020). Photo: SEARCA.

The ASEAN Climate Leadership Programme (ACLP) came to an official end on 10 December 2020 with a virtual ceremony for the award of certificates. In the workshop leading up to this, the ACLP participants shared insights into their individual leadership journeys and formed groups to present ideas for change projects to their peers, coaches and mentors and the supervisors who were invited to attend the presentations. During the closing reflection session, participants highlighted how the programme had enhanced their understanding of the climate-smart land use concept, while enabling them to practice their leadership skills and expand their networks at regional level. Some participants expressed their intention to apply the Theory U process in their work. 

‘During the change project work with my sub-group, I learned that instead of always pushing forward to achieve a goal, it is also fine to reflect and consider other options from different perspectives. It’s like stepping back to leap forward,’ said Ms. Rafeah Rabiatun binti Othman, one of the participants from Malaysia’s Department of Agriculture.

This final virtual workshop marked the end of the two-and-a-half-month leadership programme (from 1 October to 11 December 2020), which explored the role of land management in food security and climate change in the context of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its Member States. The ACLP drew upon the Theory U change management method and framework, and consisted of five virtual workshops interspersed with additional group work and individual reflection time. The participants practised their leadership skills by developing self-defined change projects and interacting with each other as well as with other stakeholders who contributed their knowledge and perspectives to the programme.

Showcasing ASEAN spirit

The ACLP brought together 27 participants from nine ASEAN Member States (AMS), working in the fields of agriculture, forestry, land use planning, rural development and climate policy in the ASEAN context.

The programme aimed to enhance participants’ leadership skills while contributing to ASEAN policy processes and outcomes related to climate change, food security and land management. It was designed as a contribution to the work of the ASEAN Climate Resilience Network (ASEAN-CRN) and will aid the implementation of ASEAN strategies such as the Vision and Strategic Plan for ASEAN Cooperation in Food, Agriculture and Forestry (FAF) (2016-2025) and the ASEAN Strategic Plan on Environment (ASPEN) 2016-2025.

During the ACLP virtual closing ceremony, Mr. Martin Hansen, GIZ Country Director for Indonesia, ASEAN and Timor-Leste, and Mr. Glenn B. Gregorio, Director of SEARCA, reflected on the relevance of leadership for driving transformational change towards a more resilient low-carbon society and economy in ASEAN. They congratulated all participants on completing their leadership journey and highlighted that, despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the participants had delivered an exceptional example of cross-border, cross-institution and cross-sector collaboration, showcasing true ASEAN spirit.

Mr. Martin Hansen, GIZ Country Director Indonesia, ASEAN and Timor-Leste, (left) and
Mr. Glenn B. Gregorio, Director of SEARCA, (right) delivered closing remarks during the ACLP virtual closing ceremony on 10 December 2020. Photo: GIZ/Diella Dachlan

Contributing to change with ACLP knowledge and experience

ASEAN and its Member States have been addressing challenges related to climate change and food security through various regional policies and actions. However, dealing with the complexities of managing land sustainably and ensuring food security in the context of climate change will require further engagement on the national, regional and international level. Individuals with vision and the ability to motivate others, facilitate dialogue and promote collaboration across sectors will be key in this context. 

Both Mr. Hansen and Dr. Gregorio expressed their hope that the ACLP alumni will put their strengthened leadership skills and technical knowledge to good use:

The next important step is to apply this knowledge and the experiences you gained to contribute to the positive changes in our world,’ Mr. Gregorio said in his closing remarks.

Meanwhile Mr. Hansen encouraged the future leaders to continue their leadership journey

‘to further build on the knowledge and the experiences gained from this programme, and to continue to be a role model, and to inspire other people to be part of the change you want to see.’

In this spirit, ACLP participants will stay connected through different media channels such as a new ACLP website, a Facebook group, and virtual meetings. The ACLP documentation will be disseminated shortly and further knowledge products based on the programme’s approach and content will be developed and shared across the region in the coming months.

The ACLP is supported by the Climate-Smart Land Use (CSLU) in ASEAN project with funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in close cooperation with the ASEAN Secretariat. It is organised jointly with the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA).

A number of other organisations and experts have contributed to the programme, including the ASEAN Secretariat; the ASEAN-CRN; the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (FAO-RAP); the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security; the Stockholm Environment Institute; Grow Asia; the Center for People and Forests; and the Amsterdam Leadership Academy.

Further information:

The ACLP Final Report, March 2021

Opening Remarks ASEAN Climate Leadership Programme (ACLP)

The ASEAN Climate Leadership Programme (ACLP)

The ASEAN Climate Leadership Programme Booklet

Leadership for Promoting Land Use Collaboration in ASEAN

ACLP supplementary material:

ASEAN Guidelines on Promoting Responsible Investment in Food, Agriculture and Forestry

How ASEAN and its Member States Promote Climate-Smart Land Use
Community Leaders in Thailand on Land Use Management

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