Partner Event

The GLF Journey at 10: The transformation of a conference into a global movement and vehicle for world-wide political action

25 January 2024
13:30 - 14:30 Europe/Rome

On November 16 and 17, 2013, a handful of organizations hosted a small conference at the University of Warsaw alongside COP 19 to revisit a 200-year-old geographical concept called the Landscape Approach. Ten years later, the Global Landscape Forum, with the support of the Government of Germany Ministry of Development (BMZ) and of Environment (BMUV), has become a global movement that reaches tens of millions of people each year and a platform for change and political action. Andrew Steer, the Chief Executive of the Bezos Foundation, called it “A decision-forcing forum”. Otto Scharmer, MIT professor and the founder of the Theory of U, said, “… GLF is exactly what is needed now. Let’s keep walking together.”

How did it happen? What makes GLF different? Why is it continuing to grow so fast? Why did 800,000 people from 120 countries engage in a three-hour forum just two months ago? What are the lessons, and where does it go from here? Can it change the world?

Join the Director of GLF and Senior Director of CIFOR-ICRAF John Colmey as he takes us on a journey of the GLF. Along the way, John will share insights on the evolution of the Landscape Approach, sustainable finance, global communication trends, the latest theories of change, and where GLF hopes to be in 2030.

The seminar will be livestreamed from the Center for Development Research (ZEF), an international institute conducting interdisciplinary research on development-related issues all over the world. ZEF is part of the University of Bonn.


John Colmey has spent more than 30 years in Africa, South, East and Southeast Asia: including 10 years as the Director of Communications of CIFOR, where his team increased citations of publications more than ten times, media citations from 75 to 3000 per year, and grew all social media platforms by double and triple digits from 2009-2019. In 2013, John and his colleagues developed and launched the Global Landscapes Forum, today the world’s largest forum on integrated land use, reaching more than two billion people in 175 countries.

In addition to his work at CIFOR/GLF John spent 12 years as a foreign correspondent in radio, broadcast and print, including five years with TIME Magazine where he served as Hong Kong Bureau Chief. As a journalist, he won numerous international and national awards. John has a B.S. in forestry and an M.Ag in technical communication, both from the University of Minnesota, an M.A. in economic geography from the London School of Economics, and an MS. in journalism from Columbia University in New York.