Patrick Worms: Hard issues in a magical setting

10/04/2019
CDLS 2017
Patrick Worms
Patrick Worms

Five years ago, Patrick Worms was sharing his passion for the power of agroforestry in development at the European Parliament. His friend, Hartmut Behrend from the German Bundeswehr, saw an unmissable opportunity, and insisted that Patrick come to Caux.

Intrigued by Hartmut’s praise of a fantastic conference set high among the clouds in a fairytale palace above Montreux, Patrick decided to go. He fell in love with the community of attendees, the place and the sense of mission. For him, as a biologist working for the World Agroforestry Centre, the Caux Dialogue on Land and Security (CDLS) was a natural fit. Its multidisciplinary approach reflected the broad focus that Patrick employs when considering the many different ways in which people’s interactions with their landscapes can affect everything from their livelihoods to the global climate.

Patrick says finding CDLS was like ‘coming home to a place I knew I belonged but had never been’. He was not new to the idea that land and security are interdependent. He had been involved in hard power and military issues, when he worked for the leaders of Georgia at the time of Russia’s invasion in 2008. Throughout his career he had felt that the worlds of greenery, development and hard security needed to be bridged. Experts in each field had to learn to work together to manage our crowded and much-abused planet.

Within two years of his first visit to Caux, Patrick was helping to organize the yearly dialogues. He is currently on the CDLS steering committee.

As Senior Science Policy Adviser for the Nairobi-based World Agroforestry Centre, Patrick handles policy and donor outreach in Europe. Key to his role has been his appreciation, heightened over the years through CDLS, that land and soil are security issues.

What has kept Patrick coming back to Caux? He says it is the way Caux deals with hard and complex problems, but in a mountain setting, removed from everyday pressures, with an ethos of calm reflection. CDLS brings together people from a wider variety of backgrounds than any other conference he has attended, facilitating productive discussions that would be unimaginable elsewhere. ‘The sheer variety of people at CDLS was a revelation’ he says. ‘Where else could you meet a NATO Assistant Secretary General, North Korean agroforesters and a hyperactive Tigrayan farmer?’

Caux’s service ethos also appeals to Patrick. ‘Working together physically to offer food to fellow delegates, rather than just talking, was… magical,’ he says. Caux is not a conference centre where people clock out at the end of the day: participants live there, sleeping, eating, talking, playing and serving each other. The CDLS has become an unmissable part of Patrick’s annual routine.

CDLS has given Patrick renewed inspiration and vigour in his work at the World Agroforestry Centre. His wife and daughter are also familiar faces at CDLS. He is now working with the CDLS team in an attempt to broaden its impact and influence and help it access more resources.

 

Initiatives for Land, Lives and Peace aims to deepen understanding of links between land degradation and human security and to build the trust needed for effective collaboration on the ground and in ‘land-peace partnerships’. As a programme of Initiatives of Change International, it inspires, equips and connects people to address world needs, starting with themselves.

Among other activities, each year ILLP organizes the Caux Dialogue on Land and Security (CDLS) in the Swiss village of Caux, in collaboration with Initiatives of Change Switzerland, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The CDLS is much more than an annual Dialogue. It is located at the centre of a growing network of practitioners working on every aspect of human security and ecosystem restoration. They support each other, inform each other, and collaborate with each other.

Featured Story
Off

related stories

Aibanshngain Swer CDLS 2019

Protecting Meghalaya’s water sources

Some billion people rely on water sourced in the hills of Meghalaya, in North East India. One of those responsible for water conservation in the State, Aibanshngain Swer, took part in the Summer Acade...

Meghalaya CDLS 2019 Conrad Sangma

Meghalaya’s lighthouses of sustainable development

‘Our goal in Meghalaya is to build a low-carbon economy through complete involvement and ownership of communities,’ Conrad Sangma, the Chief Minister of Meghalaya, told the opening session of the Caux...

CDLS 2019 Tom Duncan

Empowering communities to restore mangroves

Tom Duncan is passionate about problem solving and strategic systems thinking, primarily in regenerative economics, green finance and financial technology, as a means of restoring relationships betwee...

CDLS 2019 Chau Duncan

Bridging the financial divides

Chau Tang Duncan is applying over 20 years’ experience in banking, trade and commercial diplomacy to improving the financial access of disadvantaged communities. ...

Nhat Vhuong

Plucking water from the air

Webmarketing consultant and social entrepreneur Nhat Vhuong is passionate about tackling water scarcity. A Vietnamese refugee, who grew up in Switzerland, he worked in Japan for eight years before ret...

Hartmut Behrend Mali

Combatting climate change in Mali

Taking part in the Caux Dialogue on Land and Security (CDLS) 2014 encouraged  German climatologist Hartmut Behrend to move out of the bubble of well-intentioned international activism to work on the g...

CDLS 2019 Alan Laubsch

Restoring nature’s superheroes

Alan Laubsch is passionate about restoring nature’s ‘climate superheros’ – the mangrove forests. He believes that democratizing natural capital investment is key to this. He has over 20 years’ experie...

CDLS 2019 panel Laubsch Duncan Brown

Investing in the future of life on Earth

‘What would it feel like to be the last White Rhino?’ Alan Laubsch, founder of EarthPulse, asked participants in the third day of the Caux Dialogue for Land and Security 2019 (CDLS). ‘Your family has ...

YAP 2019 congratulations

Fresh air for Young Ambassadors

This year’s Young Ambassadors Programme (YAP) brought 39 young people from across Europe to Caux for four intensive days of training in how to work for change in their communities. They then took part...

CPLP 2019 group garden

Young people unleash their potential

The Caux Peace and Leadership Programme (CPLP) is way more than just a four-week training programme. It is a platform where young leaders from all over the world explore personal and global change. It...

Armenian-Kurdish-Turkish Dialogue 2019

It takes more courage to love than to hate

The Armenian-Kurdish-Turkish Dialogue 2019 took place during the Tools for Changemakers conference, bringing together people of Armenian, Kurdish and Turkish backgrounds to explore sensitive issues th...

Caux Palace

Going down the mountain

When people say that Caux is a life-changing experience, it is not just a cliché. For some, this is their first time out of their countries. For many, it is an opportunity to work with their traumas a...

Summer Academy 2019

Summer Academy on Land, Security and Climate is launched in Geneva and Caux

The inaugural Summer Academy brought together 18 participants from Afghanistan/Denmark, Bhutan, Germany, Kenya, India, Indonesia, Nigeria/UK, Philippines, Portugal, Somalia/UK, Spain/Switzerland, Swed...

Brian Iselin

Brian Iselin’s fight against modern slavery

The sun is slowly setting but the air is still warm as ten people form a circle to listen to Brian Iselin’s captivating story told during the human library as part of the Ethical Leadership in Busines...

Week of International Community

Week of International Community 2019

Thirty people, aged from five weeks to 78 years old, from 10 countries gathered for the Week of International Community (WIC) from 19 to 26 June, to prepare the Caux Conference and Seminar Centre for ...