EcoAgriculture Partners Newsletter: October 3, 2013
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EcoAgriculture Partners working 
hand in hand with landscape leaders
A message from EcoAgriculture Partners' 
president Sara J. Scherr

In our recent newsletters I have highlighted our work engaging with business leaders and policy makers, our efforts to reform systems at the national and international levels, and our work to transform markets for agricultural commodities. This month, I want to highlight some ongoing work that has been and remains the backbone of EcoAgriculture Partners: our collaborations directly with agricultural communities, empowering landscape leaders and local land managers to improve landscape performance for the community.

The work of our Landscapes and Leaders program pioneering landscape labeling in the Lari-Kijabe landscape of Kenya as a tool for creating market incentives for sustainable management practices and a community-based sustainability monitoring system, is now being replicated with another community grappling with sustainable land management challenges, in Mbeya, Tanzania. We are particularly proud that our partners in developing the Lari-Kijabe landscape label served as the leaders of the Mbeya workshop. One of the hallmarks of our work over the past 10 years has been connecting communities across the global south so that they can learn directly from each other about the strengths, challenges and limitations of new landscape management innovations. The landscape labeling workshop held in Mbeya in September once again showed the strength of this approach.

Because we've seen the benefits of creating connections in this way, the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative's focal landscapes program is designed to maximize the opportunities for integrated landscape initiatives like those in Mbeya and Lari-Kijabe to exchange ideas with each other and develop innovations with the support of a broad network of partners. The first focal landscape in-person dialogue and the first LPFN online learning event took place in the last two months. You can read about these activities and more that continue EcoAgriculture Partners' decade long tradition of directly supporting integrated landscape managers, below.

Sincerely,
Sara 

Workshops bring Mbeya closer to landscape labeling
 
EcoAgriculture Partners facilitates knowledge exchange for market innovation in East Africa.

EcoAgriculture Partners is working with stakeholders from the Mbeya region of Tanzania to advance market opportunities that financially reward producers and their communities for stewarding biodiversity in agricultural landscapes. In September, EcoAgriculture Partners and the Environmental Resources Management Center for Sustainable Development (ERMCSD), a non-governmental organization based in Kenya, facilitated two workshops that aimed to advance this goal by facilitating the development of landscape labeling in the Mbeya landscape.

A pre-workshop on September 3rd, co-led by Landscapes and Leaders program director Louise Buck, Elly Tumsifu of ERMCSD, and an agricultural markets consultant, brought together eight landscape leaders who had participated in the spring forum on greening agricultural development in Mbeya to network, share experiences, and plan the next workshop. In late September, a second workshop, "Landscape labeling in Mbeya, Tanzania: Advancing an agricultural market innovation", took place. Facilitated by Elly Tumsifu and John Recha of ERMCSD, and attended by 20 innovators from Mbeya, the workshop laid the groundwork for pilot-testing an Mbeya Landscape Labeling initiative.

A landscape label is a marketing and community engagement tool that can create financial incentives for farmers, pastoralists, fisherfolk and specialty forest product harvesters to practice their trade in ways that help to sustain biodiversity and ecosystem services while improving livelihood security. A landscape label with meaningful and well-monitored qualifications and a strong marketing plan can provide consumers who share these values the inspiration and ability to participate in healthy landscape management by preferentially sourcing or paying small premiums for sustainably produced products.

The landscape labeling workshop was designed so that producers, small-enterprise owners, and agriculture and conservation professionals would emerge with a detailed plan for engaging local communities in pilot testing a landscape labelling approach to eco-market development. David Kuria of Kijabe Environmental Volunteers (KENVO) shared his experiences with landscape labeling in Lari-Kijabe, Kenya, and a specialist in differentiated product marketing in Tanzania explained strategy. Participants split into groups to discuss how woodland honey, sustainably intensified rice, shade coffee, organic avocado, integrated livestock production, and agro-ecotourism could drive an Mbeya landscape label. The group reconvened to develop parameters, values, standards, and systems of verification for a landscape labeling framework. Finally, an action agenda was formulated and next steps identified. Participants left with a new awareness about how compliance with community-supported production and management standards can be rewarded in the marketplace-and a resolve to make landscape labeling a reality in Mbeya.

 

First focal landscape dialogue held in Lari-Kijabe 
landscape in Kenya
 
Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative partners meet with landscape leaders to share innovations and strategies for newly formalized partnership

In September, the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative kicked off a series of on the ground capacity-building and knowledge-sharing workshops, known as focal landscape dialogues, with a three day event in the Lari-Kijabe landscape in Kenya. These dialogues, to be held at all five of the current focal landscapes over the remainder of 2013, are an opportunity for diverse stakeholders in each landscape to share their ongoing activities and innovations from a landscape perspective and to identify ways to scale-up and share the successes with LPFN partners and other landscape initiatives worldwide.

The dialogue was facilitated by Raffaela Kozar and Louise Buck with EcoAgriculture Partners, as well as representatives from Kijabe Environmental Volunteers (KENVO) and the World Agroforestry Centre, a LPFN co-organizer. Members of farmer groups and officials from departments of agriculture, livestock, forestry and irrigation were in attendance.

The event kicked off with a tour of the landscape led by community members involved in ecotourism, forestry, horticulture, and the production of dairy and tea. EcoAgriculture representatives provided an introduction to the LPFN Initiative and Working Groups, and took attendees through the processes of the Landscape Performance Scoring System developed by EcoAgriculture, as well as identifying key institutions within the Kijabe landscape. Over the following days, facilitators guided participants as they discussed landscape needs and solutions. By the end of the meeting, participants had identified the top three priorities for the landscape (education, marketing, and building stronger networks), and developed an implementation plan and timeline.

The meeting was both educational and productive for those involved. At closing, facilitators shared their belief that a lot can be achieved when stakeholders work together. As David Kuria of KENVO reminded everyone, "Alone you can run very fast, but together we can walk longer."

Integrated Landscape Initiatives in Africa: What We Found
Integrated Landscape Initiatives in Africa: What We Found
New Report Investigates the State of Integrated Landscape Initiatives In Africa
 
First in series of continental reviews by the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative published this month

 

Current understanding of integrated landscape approaches is fragmentary, often anecdotal, and spread widely across academic fields. To help fill this gap, EcoAgriculture Partners and partners at the World Agroforestry Centre surveyed ILI leaders and participants across sub-Saharan Africa. 

 

The study, recently published in the journal World Development, was organized as part of the Global Review of the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative and supported by TerrAfrica and the Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group (a USAID program). Researchers identified and reached out to more than 200 ILIs in Africa, eventually completing surveys with 87 ILIs in 33 countries.

 

The findings suggest that while integrated landscape initiatives are indeed reporting achieving multiple objectives simultaneously in challenging contexts across Africa, they face many obstacles including a lack of private sector engagement and unstable funding sources. In addition, comparison with results from our Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) review (in press) suggest that ILIs in Africa tend to be less prevalent, younger, and have narrower means of support than their LAC counterparts.

 

EcoAgriculture Partners' project manager Abigail Hart co-authored the study, along with Jeffrey Milder (Rainforest Alliance, formerly of EcoAgriculture Partners), Joshua Minai and Philip Dobie (World Agroforestry Centre), and Christi Zaleski (independent consultant, formerly of EcoAgriculture Partners). For an overview of the study from one of the authors, a nine-minute synopsis presented by Abigail Hart is available here. For more information, visit the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature website, or download the study from sciencedirect.com.

 

EcoAgriculture Partners discusses Landscape Management for Drylands at UNCCD COP11
 
Official side event features the perspectives of landscape managers, researchers and funders

The Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative hosted an official side event to discuss the current state of the integrated landscape management approach at the UN Convention to Combat Desertification COP 11 in Windhoek, Namibia. The event, titled Supporting Drylands through Integrated Landscape Management, was organized by Raffaela Kozar of EcoAgriculture Partners together with partners from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), the Namibian Coast Conservation and Management Agency (NACOMA), and the Global Environment Facility.

With the dusty semi-arid lands of central Namibia as the backdrop, the international development community trained its focus on the problems of desertification, drought, and land degradation. The side event focused attention on the role of the landscape approach in halting desertification and restoring degraded drylands.

To that effect, Raffaela Kozar of EcoAgriculture Partners spoke about the knowledge brokering and collaborative learning among leaders that is a necessary component of success in landscape management, using the Namaqualand region of South Africa as a case study. Phil Dobie of ICRAF presented the recently published results of the comprehensive Africa Continental Review of integrated landscape initiatives. Selma Uushini spoke on behalf of NACOMA, a landscape that participated in the study and is using integrated approaches to restore and protect coastal habitat and foodsheds in one of the driest places on earth, the Namib desert coastline of western Africa.

   

Fall in the District of Columbia begins with a spate of new hires
 
EcoAgriculture Partners has added four new staff since August
 
The organization continues to expand as Heather O'Neil, Jilka Paz, Jon Allen, and Krista Heiner all joined the Washington, DC office of EcoAgriculture Partners this month. The talent and commitment of these new additions will improve the performance of our office administration, fundraising, research and outreach.

Heather O'Neil coordinates fundraising activities and donor relations, supports grant writing, and contributes to program activities in Africa. Heather previously oversaw grant implementation and donor communication at Fordham Bedford Housing Corporation in New York City. She also has experience working overseas: in Sierra Leone with Catholic Relief Services, with USAID in Ethiopia, and as a Peace Corps volunteer in South Africa. Heather holds a B.A. in political science and history from the University of Michigan and a M.A. in international political economy and development from Fordham University.

Jilka Paz provides administrative support to the EcoAgriculture Partners team. Previously, she worked as an administrative associate at La Iglesia de Santa Maria in Falls Church, Virginia. She currently serves as a board member for Falls Church Community Service Council in Virginia. Jilka received her B.A. in global affairs from George Mason University.

Jon Allen is EcoAgriculture Partners' fall communications intern. He is working to support the organization's outreach in social media and production of web content. Jon previously worked as a reporter intern for the Public Trust Project, covering new environmental regulations and investigating the manipulation of scientific research. He is a also a graduate of George Mason University.

Our newest team member is Program Associate Krista Heiner. She joins EcoAgriculture Partners to provide research, analysis, and coordination support to EcoAgriculture's Policy department and LPFN working groups on policy and finance. Krista previously worked at the U.S. Forest Service International Programs, where she supported the Central Africa Program. She has also served as a Fulbright research fellow in Mali and Senegal and a Peace Corps ecotourism development agent in Senegal. Krista earned an M.P.P. in international development and environment policy and M.S. in sustainable development and conservation biology at the University of Maryland.

Welcome to the team!

 


EcoAgriculture Recently
Most everything else we've been up to lately
  • EcoAgriculture Partners co-organized the First African Food Security and Adaptation Conference, "Harnessing Ecosystem-based Approaches for Food Security and Adaptation to Climate Change in Africa", which took place in Nairobi.  
  • Senior Scientist Wieteke Willemen and Fabrice DeClerck of Bioversity organized a session on "Ecosystem Services and Development in Resilient Rural Landscapes" at the August 26-30 Sixth Annual Ecosystem Service Partnership (ESP) Conference in Indonesia. They were subsequently invited to lead the ESP Working Group on Ecosystem Services in Rural Landscapes. 
  • Also in August, Sara J. Scherr participated in a workshop organized by the International Centre for Research in Organic Food Systems in Nairobi to design an international study of the impacts of agroecological farming methods. 
  • Landscapes and Leaders Senior Manager Raffaela Kozar visited Tigray, Ethiopia to meet with Government and other Sustainable Land Management partners and begin planning a regional leadership course in late 2013 or early 2014. 
  • From September 8-16, Research Director Christine Negra served as an external advisor on a research scoping trip in the Volta River Basin. Scientists engaged with local stakeholders and produced recommendations for an upcoming 10-year program of the CGIAR Collaborative Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems. 
  • EcoAgriculture celebrated the beginning of our 10th year with 30 friends in Los Altos Hills, California at the home of a supporter on September 18. We were excited to share the accomplishments of our first decade, and happy to hear from many unique voices about exciting opportunities for our second decade. 
  • The Landscape Strengthening Working Group of the LPFN held its first LPFN online knowledge-sharing event for the newly launched Learning Landscapes Network. .

Still Adjusting to our New Look?
Like it? Hate it? Wonder where a familiar feature went? Please email communications manager Louis Wertz. 

This new format for EcoAgriculture Partners' newsletter debuted in our May 2013 issue. Items previously featured in our newsletter that covered ecoagriculture-related happenings, new reports by our partner organizations, calls for papers and proposals, and upcoming events have moved to the EcoAgriculture Partners or Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative websites, the Landscapes Blog, and our Facebook and Twitter pages. Plus, you can now also keep track of us on Google Plus!

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