Advancing Leadership Journey for Better Climate-Smart Land Use Practices in the Region

ACLP 2021 participants sharing their joy after the virtual award ceremony. Photo: GIZ/Diella Dachlan

Following the successful implementation in 2020, the ASEAN Climate Leadership Programme (ACLP) 2021 continues to facilitate collective cross-sectoral transformative action on climate-smart land use in Southeast Asia. It provides participants with necessary leadership tools and strategies to initiate change processes.

The ACLP 2021 ran virtually from 18 August until 28 October 2021 and initially brought together 23 selected participants from eight ASEAN member states, 20 of whom successfully completed their leadership journey. This year’s guiding theme is Promoting Climate-Smart Land Use for Implementing Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). The ACLP is designed as a contribution to the work of the ASEAN Climate Resilience Network (ASEAN-CRN).

The participants are experts and decision-makers working in agriculture, forestry, rural development or climate policy and action in the ASEAN context. They received guidance from experienced leaders and technical experts on how best to navigate their professional aspirations relating to climate-smart practices in land use sectors. Overall, the programme draws upon Theory U, a framework that blends systems thinking, leadership and organisational learning based on experience and expertise.

Figure 1: The five phases of a leadership journey

Summary of the ACLP Leadership Journey

In the ACLP, the leadership journey with its different learning steps (see Figure 1) is structured as four modules. The first module “Starting the Journey” introduced the participants to the ACLP leadership model and to the specific technical content the ACLP will address. Different experts explained climate-smart practices in agriculture, forestry and rural development in Southeast Asia and relevant ASEAN regional policies and priorities from the food, agriculture and forestry sectors and elaborated how these contribute to advancing the implementation of NDCs in the region.

In the second module “Observing the System Closely”, participants practiced a deep observation of challenges and opportunities within the context of land use and climate change through the lens of systems thinking. The programme hosted distinguished guest speakers who brought in various perspectives from the private sector, high-level policymaking and civil society on the discourse of mainstreaming climate-smart practices. Participants also had a chance to practice their leadership skills such as listening, conversation, generating and pitching ideas, and providing feedback.

The third module of the ACLP centred on the practice of Theory U and was divided into two workshop phases: Module 3A focused on the theme “Strengthening Personal Connection with the System”. Module 3B concentrated on the theme “Collaborating with Others on Prototyping”. In this context, participants mainly worked in sub-groups on a self-defined change project to jointly explore how they can promote the implementation of climate-friendly and resilient land use practices guided by ASEAN policies and priorities.

Dr Glenn B. Gregorio, Director of SEARCA, (left) and Mr Martin Hansen, GIZ Country Director for Indonesia, ASEAN and Timor-Leste, (right) delivered closing remarks during the ACLP 2021 virtual closing ceremony on 28 October 2021. Photo: GIZ/Diella Dachlan

The final ACLP module “Coming Home, Continuing the Journey” centred on the sub-groups’ final change project presentations in line with the core values and thematic area of the programme. During the ACLP virtual closing ceremony on 28 October 2021, Dr Glenn B Gregorio, Director of SEARCA, and Mr Martin Hansen, Country Director for Indonesia and Timor Leste of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), congratulated participants on completing the ACLP in 2021. Both Mr Hansen and Dr Gregorio encouraged the ACLP alumni to think and act in a more holistic, inclusive and interdisciplinary fashion as they address the challenges of climate change, food security, degradation of natural resources and the COVID-19 pandemic. They also appreciated the transnational, cross-institutional and cross-sectoral engagement and collaboration to showcase the ASEAN spirit despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Continuing the Leadership Journey

Although the ACLP has ended, the participants have been prepared to continue using all the leadership skills and new knowledge they have acquired during the programme in their respective work context.

GIZ and SEARCA will continue to support the ACLP alumni network of participants from both batches of 2020 and 2021. Two alumni meetings have taken place so far, and a third one will be organised soon.


The ASEAN Climate Leadership Programme (ACLP) is an initiative led by the Climate-Smart Land Use (CSLU) ASEAN project, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammernarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, in collaboration with the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA). It forms part of ASEAN-CRN’s activities to promote regional exchange, particularly for sharing information, experiences, and expertise on climate smart agriculture (CSA) and other related approaches.

A number of other organisations and experts have contributed to the programme, including members of ASEAN-CRN, the ASEAN Secretariat, Grow Asia, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR), the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), the Center for People and Forests, and the Amsterdam Leadership Academy.

Some captured moments from the ACLP 2021 virtual certificate award ceremony.
Some captured moments from the ACLP 2021 virtual certificate award ceremony.

Event documentation
The ASEAN Climate Leadership Programme (ACLP) 2021

Relevant news:

Module 4: Coming Home, Continuing the Journey
Concluding and Continuing the Leadership Journey for Promoting Better Climate-Smart Land Use Practices in the Region

Module 3
Module 3A : Strengthening Personal Connection with the System
Module 3B : Collaborating with Others on Prototyping

Collaboration Exercise Through Prototyping for Promoting Climate-smart Land Use Practices

Module 2: Observing the System Closely
Applying Systems Thinking in Promoting Climate-smart Practices in Land Use Sector

Module 1: Starting the Journey
Leadership for Facilitating Better Climate-Smart Land Use Practices in the Region

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