EcoAgriculture Partners Newsletter: June/July 2014
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Nairobi Conference inspires exciting action for future of landscapes in Africa 
 
A message from EcoAgriculture Partners president Sara J. Scherr

Our newsletter is a few weeks late.  Nearly half of the EcoAgriculture Partners staff was in Nairobi, Kenya in late June and early July, helping organize the biggest event we've been involved in since the launch of the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative in early 2012.  Now that we're back, we can relay the exciting accomplishments of the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature in Africa Conference, July 1-3.

 

By 2050, Africa will be home to 2 billion people. Without radical changes in agriculture and natural resource management, more than 30 percent of these 2 billion, at least 600 million people, will be chronically hungry. Forests will continue to fall, species disappear and land degrade. Fortunately, serious, workable and tested alternatives to business as usual exist. The goal of the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature in Africa Conference was to catalyze action on those alternatives. Nearly 180 participants from agriculture, conservation and development organizations from across Africa and the world, from the grassroots to the international levels, came together and proposed a powerful African Landscapes Action Plan that, if the momentum from this convening is any indication, will do exactly that.

 

Co-organized with LPFN, NEPAD, the World Agroforestry Centre, TerrAfrica and UNEP, and sponsored by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, the meeting was a true collaborative effort. The context was framed by African leaders in science, agriculture, environment and policy. Landscape program managers and policymakers from Kenya, Burkina Faso and elsewhere shared their national experiences in scaling up. Participants organized around the themes of Policy, Landscape Governance, Business and Markets, Finance, Research and Capacity-Building to critically review the evidence and experience of African landscape management. Building on that, in a highly interactive mode they defined priority Actions and next steps for further advancing integrated landscape management in the continent.

 

I am thrilled that conference discussions inspired so many different people and organization to pledge to contribute their own expertise and resources toward achieving what Kwesi Atta-Krah, director of the CGIAR program Humidtropics, called "the necessary socio-technological transformation to achieve real green growth in Africa."

 

EcoAgriculture Partners, and the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative, will be involved in many of the agreed actions, where our own expertise and experience can be particularly useful. We will convene national policy dialogues in Ethiopia and Tanzania, building on the recent successful dialogue in Kenya (see story below). Facilitated discussion between grassroots leaders, local government representatives and national government officials is the first step to improved policy coordination and service delivery to support multiple-objective landscape initiatives.

But dialogue is not enough. National policymakers in Africa must take action to make integrated, multi-stakeholder, multi-objective programs the rule, not the exception. International policymakers and donors must follow their lead.

 

In response to this call to Action, EcoAgriculture will accelerate its efforts to strengthen integrated landscape initiatives in Africa, working with partners like the Model Forest Network, farmer and pastoral organizations, and the emerging LPFN-supported learning landscape network.

 

EcoAgriculture Partners will also be working with partners to build the business case for integrated landscape management in Africa. A coalition of the World Resources Institute, IUCN,  the World Agroforestry Centre and LPFN is in the early stages of exploring an "African Roadshow for Business Engagement" that would feature a number of national level forums and training events for African agribusiness leaders over the next 24 months.

 

What is most exciting is the feeling that discussions at the conference opened many doors we haven't even peered into yet. Over the coming months we will continue to explore the range of possibilities to further advance integrated landscape management across Africa. There is much work to be done, but indeed, many groups are lining up to do it with us! We welcome your contributions as well.

Sincerely,

Sara J. Scherr

Catch the Highlights of the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature in Africa Conference

Attendees generated ambitious action plan, pledged to take on next steps.

By Eva Fillion 
  

Leading up to the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature in Africa Conference, the blog covered the main themes of the conference: landscape governance, business and markets, biophysical and socio-ecological research, capacity building, finance and  national policies for supporting integrated landscape management in Africa. The blogs were based on reviews of major analytical work on these topics for Africa. During the conference, colleagues at the World Agroforestry Centre, the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems and others covered all the key issues under discussion.

 

The day before the conference officially opened, Communications Manager Louis Wertz joined 50 conference participants in a day long journey to two of Kenya's most dramatic and instructive examples of integrated landscape management-the Lake Naivasha and Lari landscapes.

 

The conference opened with Richard Munang, the Africa Regional Climate Change Coordinator at the United Nations Environment Programme and Tony Simons, the Director General of the World Agroforestry Centre who each challenged participants to create a vision for the future. Simons urged "The time for dialogue is over. Now what we need is action, and action, and nothing but action." Other speakers, such as Hon. Joshua Irungu, the Governor for Laikipia County and Verrah Otiende, a scientist from the World Agroforestry Centre pointed to the threats of urbanization to creating integrated landscapes, but were hopeful that existing and future efforts could make an impact.

 

Parallel sessions on a variety of topics took place throughout the conference that sparked lively conversations and resulted in concrete actions plans. During a session on strategies for financing integrated landscape development in Africa, participants created action plans to enable mobilization of resources. Key actions included bringing an investment mindset into landscapes, mobilization of resources through microfinance institutions and local funding, sourcing support from the public sector and sensitizing communities to embrace investments for landscapes. In a session on national policies to support integrated landscape management, participants noted the importance of focusing on both rural and urban areas and addressing land tenure policies. Business panel attendees searched for ways to encourage businesses to take action on African integrated landscape management by drawing connections between ecosystem health and profitability.

 

Participants had the chance to learn about over 20 tools for integrated landscape management at the Tool Bazaar on the last day of the conference. "Integrated landscape management involves different processes running all the way from planning, implementation and monitoring and evaluation. Yet each stage requires different tools that are tested and proven," said Chris Planicka, a program associate at EcoAgriculture Partners.

 


Wish you had been at the LPFN in Africa Conference? 

Our Storify page makes you feel like you were right there with us. We pulled together photos, videos, press coverage and participant responses to recapture the learning, takeaway messages, and excitement of this major event. See the whole story here.  

 


Kenya Holds Inaugural Policy Dialogue for Integrated Landscape Management

In late June, Krista Heiner and Seth Shames visited Nairobi for a facilitated, national-level policy dialogue on integrated landscape management (ILM) in Kenya.
A blog by these two members of EcoAgriculture's Policy team, excerpted below, explains the importance of this dialogue.

 

Challenges with food security, poverty, climate change, ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss are highly interlinked. These interconnections are increasingly apparent in Kenya's growing economy, where ecosystem degradation enhances food insecurity and poverty, and poverty and food insecurity exacerbate the pressure on scarce natural resources. Furthermore, many of these interactions occur at a scale that spans multiple jurisdictions, only adding to its complexity.

 

Many examples highlight this interdependency and the need to work at many levels of the landscape. Ensuring adequate quality and quantity of water in Lake Naivasha, which many smallholder farmers and large horticulture and floriculture businesses rely on, requires combating deforestation and land degradation in the upper portions of the watershed. Similarly, reducing pressure on forest land in Lari and Bungoma requires improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. And, in Embu, dealing with land degradation requires reducing the division of farmland into increasingly smaller pieces, a practice driven by poverty and the increase in population in the region. Finally, combating human-wildlife conflicts in Laikipia requires ensuring that pastoralists' livelihoods can be enhanced by protecting wildlife through community run ecotourism ventures.

 

Continue reading...    

Continental Review Tackles Latin America 
 
Since the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative identified a need to evaluate the current state of integrated landscape management, EcoAgriculture Partners has been leading partner organizations in assessments of integrated landscape initiatives (ILIs) on a continent-by-continent basis. Last month, results from a review of 104 ILIs in the Latin America & Caribbean (LAC) region were published in Landscape and Urban Planning. The paper was authored by Natalia Estrada-Carmona of CATIE, Abigail K. Hart of EcoAgriculture, Fabrice A.J. DeClerck of Bioversity International, Celia A. Harvey of Conservation International and Jeffrey C. Milder of EcoAgriculture Partners, and explores where ILIs are happening, why, how they are tackling challenges, who is involved, and what has been achieved. To read the review's findings, check out this blog.

   

Brand New: Toward Viable Landscape Governance Systems: What Works?
 
Finding agreement among diverse landscape users is not easy. EcoAgriculture Partners recently produced a paper, published on behalf of the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative, that discusses challenges and strategies for successful landscape governance.  EcoAgriculture staff Raffaela Kozar and Louise Buck, supported by Edmund G. Barrow of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Terry C.H. Sunderland of Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Delia E. Catacutan of World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Christopher Planicka of EcoAgriculture, Abigail K. Hart and Louise Willemen of EcoAgriculture and Cornell University, examine the processes by which actors reach collective decisions that produce actions, grant power and regulate performance in a landscape. A framework is developed that identifies practices in the field, stakeholders and relationships, values, capacities, and supportive processes as the key characteristics of landscape governance systems. The paper, which was rooted in a collaborative brainstorming session at the first Global Landscapes Forum in November 2013, greatly informed the session on governance at this month's LPFN in Africa conference. Read the blog to learn more, or download the paper now.

Welcome to Our New Team Members!

 

We are really excited to welcome three new members to our team at EcoAgriculture Partners. Melissa Thaxton is the Partnership Coordinator for the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative. She facilitates communication and coordination of activities among the more than 60 partner organizations around the world who are working together to promote and strengthen integrated landscape management approaches to sustainable development. Melissa has managedpartnerships across the sectors of health, environment, and population. She has eight years of experience in international development, ranging from community-based development to gender consulting and policy advocacy.  

Elise Ursin and Eva Fillion are our summer Communications Interns. Elise and Eva work with Lou, Margie and Jes on the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative blog, social media outreach and general communications tasks (like box decorating, as pictured here).  

Learning Dialogue on Integrated Landscape Management in Sri Lanka


Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative will continue to host events in learning landscapes as part of the Initiative's on the ground landscape strengthening work.
 

This May, farmers from two landscapes vital to the cultural and biological diversity of this island nation left their fields and rice paddies to travel to Peradeniya, in central Sri Lanka, for the capacity building learning dialogue on integrated landscape management (ILM). These village representatives sat alongside co-organizers from the Green Movement of Sri Lanka, EcoAgriculture Partners, Biodiversity Secretariat of the Sri Lanka Ministry of Environment and Renewable Energy, Biodiversity for Food and Nutrition (BFN) and Biodiversity for Adaptation to Climate Change (BACC) to discuss how public policy and improved land management practices could help them adapt to climate change and other resource pressures. 

 

Several partner organizations of the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative also sent experts to join the discussion, from Bioversity International, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the CGIAR Research Program for Water Land and Ecosystems (WLE). In all, more than 70 people from farmers to ecologists to Sri Lankan policy makers attended the workshop designed to strengthen the resilience and multi-stakeholder management of two of the countries most iconic and diverse landscapes. The group discussed how climate change was impacting the traditional agroecosystem landscapes of the Kandyan home gardens and tank cascade systems . 

 

In Peradeniya, adaptation and mitigation strategies were presented alongside technical sessions and knowledge sharing activities. During the dialogue, participants also discussed key areas to be addressed for the success of the landscape approach. Participants then visited the rural village of Udukumbura. Here, the group participated in activities with women and youth to explore agrobiodiversity options for sustaining livelihoods, while adapting to climate change and drastic weather patterns in their daily farming experiences. EcoAgriculture Partners co-facilitated a spatial planning session in which these stakeholders mapped and discussed the features, opportunities and challenges in their landscape. Read more about this exchange here.

 


Sara J. Scherr participates in Global Environment Facility Assembly

 

GEF-6 is moving energetically to support integrated landscape management over the next five years. 

 

EcoAgriculture Partners President Sara J. Scherr was a panelist in the Water, Food and Energy Nexus round table hosted by Mr. Leonardo Beltran Rodriguez - Deputy Secretary for Planning and Energy Transition, Secretariat of Energy, Mexico and moderated by World Resources Institute President and CEO Andrew Steer. The round table featured a robust conversation, with Sara ensuring that strong existing examples of integrated activity and investments that address the nexus were central to the discussion. Fellow panelists Monique Barbut, the Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, Dan Glickman, former United States Secretary of Agriculture, and Shenggen Fan, Executive Director of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) provided a wide variety of perspectives, but also encouraged environmental finance to shift to more integrated approaches.

 

The assembly is the governing body of the Global Environment Facility, the largest investment mechanism for environmental conservation, restoration and sustainable development made up of all the members. It meets only every three to four years to evaluate the policies, membership and implementation of the facility.

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