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August 5, 2008

EcoAgriculture Partners Newsletter

Table of Contents

EcoAgriculture Partners Updates In the Scene Resources Call for Papers, Partners, and Proposals Upcoming Events

 

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EcoAgriculture Partners Updates

Ecoagriculture Partners collaborates with the Ethiopia Country Water Partnership

During the last week of May, Seth Shames of Ecoagriculture Partners travelled to Ethiopia to work with the Ethiopian Country Water Partnership to assess the project's progress and lessons learned in the initial phase of its work to support Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in Ethiopia, and to explore potential areas for future collaboration with EP. IWRM, with its focus on the basin scale and multistakeholder processes is highly complementary to an ecoagriculture approach. This work included consultations in Addis Ababa and in two pilot sites in northern Ethiopia, the Berki watershed in Tigray and the Messena micro-watershed in Amhara. EP will be producing a report based on these findings and a policy brief synthesizing the projects insights for a global audience.


 For more information on the Global Water Partnership see: http://www.gwpforum.org/servlet/PSP.

Ecoagriculture leadership course for East Africa held in Uganda

The second ‘Leadership for Ecoagriculture in East Africa’ course was held between 15 and 22 April 2008 at Jinja Nile Resort in Uganda. The course was designed for 34 practitioners and professionals from the agriculture, conservation, community development, and planning sectors in Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania.  The course was co-organized by ECOTRUST-Uganda, the Ugandan Ecoagriculture Working Group, Ecoagriculture-Kenya Forum, Ecoagriculture Partners, and the Center for Sustainable Resource Development of University of California-Berkeley, with support from TerrAfrica. The course graduates learned how to spearhead and manage participatory initiative that encourage agricultural development and conserve biodiversity.


ECOTRUST is a leading indigenous Ugandan non-profit organization that supports communities to build capacity for environmental management and guide access. For more information see www.ecotrust.or.ug.

Ecosystem Marketplace newsletter features the Community, Conservation and Markets project

Ecosystem Marketplace’s Community Forum newsletter recognizes the importance of Ecoagriculture Partner’s collaboration with the World Bank and the Katoomba Group in creating the Community, Conservation and Markets project, and the launch of the new project website at www.ccm.org. The general goal of this project is to build the institutional foundations for sustainable development of the rural landscape in developing countries. The specific objectives and main deliverables are:

  • To raise rural productivity and incomes through strategies that fully integrate sustainable agriculture, land management and conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services at a landscape scale
  • To reward rural resource managers financially for their stewardship of resources, through payments for ecosystem services; and
  • To actively disseminate lessons from Coalition partners, coordinate the project coalition and measure progress towards GPP’s goal and objectives.

The international newsletter of Ecosystem Marketplace is a major source of news about payments for ecosystem services. For more information see http://ecosystemmarketplace.org.

Ecoagriculture Partners summer staff meeting, Ithaca, New York

Ecoagriculture Partners held its bi-annual staff meeting from 28 July to 1 August 2008, in Ithaca, New York. Major agenda items were program updates, strategic visioning, financial and administrative management, and preparation for upcoming grants. Kindly hosted by Jeff Milder and Louise Buck of Cornell University, staff got a chance to visit a local farm, a land preserve, and an eco-friendly winery. 12 full and part time staff were in attendance. The next staff meeting is scheduled for December 2008.

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In the Scene

BBC news coverage of Rights and Resources reports on forest tenure

The Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) launched two new reports recently at an event held at the London House of Commons, sponsored by RRI and the Forest Peoples Program. The reports examine the shifts in forest tenure around the world and highlighted the critical role of rights recognition in addressing poverty, conflict and climate change.


More details are available at http://www.rightsandresources.org/blog.php?id.


To see BBC news coverage of the reports, visit: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7503304.stm.

'Fair for Life' pilots social accountability in agricultural certification system

'Fair for Life’ is a neutral third party certification program for social accountability and fair-trade in agricultural, manufacturing and trading operations.  The Institute of Marketecology (IMO) and FairTrade Certification Program complements existing fairtrade certification systems and offers operators of socially responsible projects objective inspection and certification, with adaptability to local conditions. The system is designed for food and non-food commodities, but is more inclusive of agricultural operations than existing certification systems.


For more information see www.fairforlife.net

Cross River State Ecoagriculture Summit, Calabar, Nigeria

This event, with a theme of "Developing and Sustaining a Green and Safe Environment for Present and Future Generations" was held in Calabar, Nigeria from the 25-28 June 2008. It was organized by the Cross River State Government, communities, CBOs, NGOs, civil society groups, trade associations, private sector, local government administrations, state government departments, school children, the Academia and the Federal Government of Nigeria. Development partners also attended the event. At the end of the summit the participants issued a statement with 18 recommendations, including the abolition of revenue targets from timber exploitation by the Forestry Commission and a 2 year moratorium on logging in the Forest Reserves. These recommendations have been endorsed by the state executive council for implementation and efforts are underway to draw up a policy framework for environmental management.


For more information contact Ugbem Matthew, PA to Commissioner, at ugbemi@yahoo.com.
 

Platform for Agrobiodiversity Research launches agrobiodiversity and climate change project

The use of Agrobiodiversity to manage Climate Change: Charting experiences from rural communities and indigenous peoples" is a recent project of the Platform for Agrobiodiversity Research (PAR). The Platform’s Stakeholder Meeting, which took place in Rome, Italy, in May 2006 identified agrobiodiversity and climate change as one of the priority areas the Platform should be working on. With support from Bioversity International and the Christensen Fund the Platform was able to start its new project on Agrobiodiversity and Climate Change in April 2008.


The project will initially run for one year and aims at gathering and making available information on the use of agrobiodiversity by communities facing climate change. Also, the project will try to highlight areas that need further research, build new partnerships and raise awareness of the role of agrobiodiversity to cope with climate change.


For more information see http://www.agrobiodiversityplatform.org/climate_change/.

Development Marketplace 2008 announces ceremony for sustainable agriculture finalists

n June, 100 finalists were selected by the Development Marketplace (DM) for their global competition for innovative approaches to “sustainable agriculture for development.” The DM competition will host a public event and reveal the winners at the World Bank headquarters in Washington DC on 24-25 September 2008.


For more information on the ceremony see
 http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/OPPORTUNITIES/GRANTS/DEVMARKETPLACE/0,,contentMDK:21618617~pagePK:180691~piPK:174492~theSitePK:205098,00.html.

For more information on development marketplace see www.developmentmarketplace.org.

Ugandan agricultural landscapes rich in biodiversity

The Ugandan Wildlife Society and partners recently completed the first “Biodiversity in Farmed Landscapes of Uganda” study.  The research team surveyed farms in seven districts in the Lake Victoria region over one year. The project documented over 400 bee species, 300 butterflies, 218 bird species, 250 woody plant species and 130 tree species.  Particularly high numbers of insects and birds were found on farms with some fallow land and trees.  The next stage of the project is to survey the correlation between biodiversity and crop yields. 


For more information please contact uws@uws.or.ug.

2008 Global Katoomba XII: Developing an Infrastructure Fund for the Planet

Senator John Kerry, John Holdren, director of the Wood’s Hole Research Center, and Governor Blairo Maggi, of Mato Grosso, Brazil were among the key speakers at Global Katoomba event in Washington, DC held from the 9-10 of June 2008. The event, co-hosted by The Katoomba Group, Forest Trends and the Smithsonian Institution, brought together fifty speakers from business, finance, government, communities, NGOs, and regional organizations, and over six hundred participants from more than 35 countries, The event succeeded in bringing greater focus on the challenges and opportunities of these emerging ecosystem markets both in the U.S. and around the world. While participants recognized the many challenges that lie ahead for these markets, optimism abounded about the future potential of these markets to assure future environmental sustainability.


For more information see: http://www.katoombagroup.org/~katoomba/event_details.php?id=20.

Israelis and Jordanians join in transboundary ecoagriculture education program

The Southern Arava Sustainable Waste Management Program (SASWMP) guides a cross-border ecoagriculture project, using a regional approach to improve the management of agricultural waste in the Arava Valley between Jordan and Israel.  With funding from the European Union’s LIFE programme, SASWMP’s ecoagriculture education program trains farmers in growing techniques that protect the environment, maintain humane working conditions and ensure safe, high quality produce, through every production stage.  The program also teaches farmers how to market produce to European supermarket chains and receive a higher rate of return.  The Jordanian farmers received GLOBALCAP certification in 2007 for dates, grapes, tomatoes, melons and peppers. The Israeli program focuses on date-growers and recently exceeded the GLOBALCAP certification by passing the Tesco Nature’s Choice’s (TNC) audits and certification. 


For more information please see http://www.saswmp.com/index_files/Eco_Agriculture.htm.

Food and Agriculture Organization finds that large-scale biofuel production may marginalize women

The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) found that rapid increases in large-scale production of liquid biofuels in developing countries might exacerbate the marginalization of women in rural areas. Liquid biofuels, such as bioethanol and biodiesel, often require intensive use of resources and inputs that small farmers, especially women, do not have access to. Also, the conversion of lands to plantations for biofuels production might displace the activities women conduct in given agricultural areas, negatively affecting their ability to provide food. The report also warned that the replacement of local crops with monoculture energy crop plantations could threaten agro-biodiversity and the knowledge and traditional skills of smallholder farmers in the management, selection and storage of local crops


The report calls for more research and the adoption of pro-poor policies that especially empower women. Biofuel offers opportunities to farmers but need to be guided to trickle down to farm level, such as integrating energy crop plantations into existing local agri-food systems in order to protect smallholder farmers and their skill sets, which are crucial to the food security and long-term resilience of rural communities.


For the press release see: http://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2008/1000830/index.html.

For the full report see: ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/010/ai503e/ai503e00.pdf.

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Resources

Brochure on soil and crop variability as a means of increasing production in the Sahel

This ten page brochure by Joost Brouwer, published by ICRISAT Sahelian Research Center, International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and the Commission on Ecosystem Management, posits that better knowledge of the causes and effects of soil and crop growth variability will help in increasing yields, yield stability, and resource use efficiency for farmers in the Sahel. It contains practical information relevant to farmers, extension people and researchers. 


To see the full brochure visit: http://www.ecoagriculture.org/documents/index.php?pubID=93.

Natural Value Initiative toolkit assesses financial risk and opportunity of biodiversity and ecosystem services

he Natural Value Initiative (NVI) is the collaboration between Fauna & Flora International, the Brazilian Business School Fundacão Getulio Vargas (FGV) and the United Nations Environment Programme.  NVI aims to improve communication between the finance sector and companies that are dependent upon or impact ecosystem services. 


The Natural Value Initiative (NVI) fills this gap by working with the finance sector to develop a toolkit to evaluate the financial risk and opportunity of companies’ dependence and impact on biodiversity and ecosystem services.  


For more information see www.naturalvalueinitiative.org.


Water Alternatives posts first e-issue

The first issue of the tri-annual, open-access, peer-reviewed e-journal Water Alternatives presents an array of articles and case studies pertaining to water rights, local water governance, gender and irrigation, water research policy, and river-basin politics.


For more information see www.water-alternatives.org.

Conservation Letters' first issue features agriculture and biodiversity conservation

The first issue of the new conservation journal Conservation Letters', an offshoot of the Journal of Conservation Biology, from Blackwell Publishing, features “Agriculture and Biodiversity Conservation: Opportunity Knocks,” an article by Ken Norris from the Center for Agri-Environmental Research (CAER).  Norris acknowledges that agricultural expansion is the primary driver of biodiversity loss and environmental degradation and its impacts will continue to grow.  The solution is to design effective management strategies for biodiversity and better understand biodiversity retention in agricultural landscapes. The article offers an invaluable insight on how and why conservation and ecosystem sciences should integrate into the field of agriculture.


For more information see: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1755-263X.2008.00007.x.

Food and Agriculture Organization launches ecosystem services website

The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) launches the Payment for Ecosystem Services in Agricultural Landscapes (PESAL) website.  PESAL improves incentives and shares designs for sustainable natural resource management in agriculture, including guidelines for using PES systems to potentially reduce rural poverty.


For more information see http://www.fao.org/es/esa/PESAL/index.html or www.fao.org.

VISION, web-GIS on Environment and Security

New Image, New Functionalities: The Institute for Environmental Security (IES) and MARIS have launched the latest version (July 2008) of 'VISION', an Internet-interface using OpenGIS Consortium (OGC) technology for viewing remotely sensed and GIS data online. Spatial data have been compiled and processed by SarVision. No special GIS expertise, software or high speed internet connection is needed in order to use Vision.


Different aspects of environment and security can be separately invoked on these online maps. The variable and thematic layers include administrative data such as borders, rivers, roads and settlements, ecosystems data, such as forest cover, hydrology, habitats, etc., conservation areas, demographic and socio-economic information, specific threats, and such as deforestation, logging canals, and erosion By ticking these layers "on" and "off", users can compose their own images with information of their own interests.


For more information see http://www.envirosecurity.org/espa/vision.php.

New EU publication: Life on the Farm - sustainable agriculture in Europe

IFE (“The Financial Instrument for the Environment”) is a program launched by the European Commission and coordinated by the Environment Directorate-General Complementing the earlier LIFE-Focus publication “LIFE and agri-environment supporting Natura 2000.” The latest edition covers a broader range of innovative solutions to help enhance agriculture’s influence on the environment.


Featuring 20 project case studies from 11 different countries and co-funded under all three LIFE program strands, this publication offers a wide variety of practical examples on how to deal with present and future environmental challenges in the agricultural sector. In addition to emphasizing the value of knowledge transfer and best practice, the projects also present highly pertinent examples of sustainable agriculture, where natural resources are managed in a holistic manner to ensure that their benefits are also available for future generations.


For more information see http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/publications/lifepublications/lifefocus/documents/agriculture.pdf.

Heinz Center report highlights environmental trends, calls for action on better data in the USA

The State of the Nations Ecosystems 2008 report recently released by the Heinz Center provides documentation of key environmental trends in the US. A companion report calls for both federal and state action to strengthen and integrate the nations environmental monitoring. The State of the Nation's Ecosystems 2008 shows that acreage burned every year by wildfires is increasing, non-native fish have invaded nearly every watershed in the lower 48 states, and chemical contaminants are found in virtually all streams and most groundwater wells, often at levels above those set to protect human health or wildlife. In contrast, ecosystems are increasing their storage of carbon, there are improvements in soil quality and crop yields have grown significantly, according to Robin O’Malley, Director of Heinz Center’s Environmental Reporting program.


The State of the Nations' Ecosystems 2008 is available in limited quantities from the Heinz Center in advance of publication by Island Press later this summer. The Road Map report is available online at the Heinz Center. See www.heinzcenter.org org/ecosystems and www.islandpress.org.

Conservation and Biodiversity Banking: A Guide to Setting Up and Running Biodiversity Credit Trading Systems

This book, edited by Nathaniel Carroll, Jessica Fox and Ricardo Bayon, has been recently published by Earthscan Press as part of the “Environmental Markets Insight Series.” The main objectives are to use species credit banking in the US as a model to demonstrate how an active biodiversity market can and might function. The second is to provide practical guidance to practitioners and those interested in establishing a bank. The final section addresses directions for future conservation banking.


To order the book see: stylusmail@PressWarehouse.com.

Agricultural Ecosystems: Facts & Trends

Agriculture is suffering from a growing dilemma: it needs to feed a fast growing world population, and conserve biodiversity and manage natural resources of an increasingly depleted planet. How to understand this crisis, and the rapid increase in food prices in many countries, is the purpose of the latest publication by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Agricultural Ecosystems: Facts & Trends presents well-documented facts and figures to help governments, farmers, consumers and industry better understand the challenges facing the sustainable management of agricultural ecosystems.


To download the full publication, see: http://www.wbcsd.org/includes/getTarget.asp?type=d&id=MzA4MDQ.

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Call for Papers, Partners, and Proposals

Low External Input & Sustainable Agriculture magazine calls for submissions on climate change and resilience

The coming climate change issue of the Centre for International Low External Input and Sustainable Agriculture (LEISA) magazine will look for concrete examples on how LEISA helps to build resilience. How do farmers perceive and deal with changes in their environment? What do they anticipate? How have they been dealing with shocks and stresses in the past and how can such strategies be important in the years to come? The Deadline for submissions is 1 September 2008.  The previous issue also addresses the health of soil’s living organic matter and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa in their latest publication.


For more information see www.leisa.info/index.php.

2009 Call for Pre-Proposals for grants in support of one year of research related to global environmental change in Africa

START, the global change SysTem for Analysis, Research and Training, seeks to enhance scientific capacity for global environmental change (GEC) research in developing regions. START seeks Pre-Proposals from African scientists for one-year projects on global environmental change in Africa.  The Pre-Proposal must provide specific information on how the proposed research will contribute to:

  • Improving knowledge of the Earth’s changing climate and environment, including its natural variability, and/or how the research will improve understanding of the causes of observed variability and change. Improving quantification of the driving forces of changes in the Earth’s climate and systems.
  • Reducing uncertainty in projections of how the Earth’s climate and related systems may change in the future
  •  Understanding the sensitivity and adaptability of different natural and managed ecosystems and human systems to climate and related global changes.
  • Assessing impacts, adaptation and risk management strategies related to climate variability and change.

A Pre-Proposal may be submitted by any African scientist who is associated with an African institution of higher learning or with an African non-governmental organization. Proposals are due by EST on Friday, 15 August 2008.
 
For more information and the application see: http://www.start.org/Program/African_sm_grants.html.

Call for inputs: consultation to the voluntary sustainable agriculture standard

At the end of July, the Multistakeholder Forum on Ethical Certification and Labeling
began the second consultation phase of the Addendum to the voluntary sustainable agriculture standard, which will last until 23 September 2008. The addendum to the sustainable agriculture standard will consist of a set criteria for farms aiming to be certified by Rainforest Alliance.  Compliance with the sustainable agriculture standard protects wildlife and agricultural workers.  Certification also allows consumers  who want to encourage good land stewardship and social practices the ability to choose products that correspond to the issues they consider to be important.


To participate, go to www.eclspace.org, and click “join us,”  and then join the ECL space. To comment on the documents, login, and click on “guidelines in development.”

The Biodiversity and Agricultural Commodities Program seeks applications to implement sustainable strategy for palm oil

The Biodiversity and Agricultural Commodities Program (BACP), a program of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and managed by Chemonics International Inc., is seeking grant applications from NGOs, private companies, public or private research institutions, or a consortium of any of the above to implement its strategy for the palm oil sector in cooperation with the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).


Grants awarded in response to this request for grant applications will fall within one of the four components of BACP and within the broad parameters established in the BACP Market Transformation Strategy for Palm Oil. Only members of RSPO are eligible to apply, and materials are due by 30 September 2008.


For more information see: www.bacp.net.


Email bacppmu@chemonics.com with any questions

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Upcoming Events

Biodiversity and Society: understanding connections, adapting to change, 13 - 16 October 2009, Cape Town, South Africa

The conference is entirely dedicated to biodiversity science and its connections to human sciences. The conference will include plenary lectures, symposia, oral and poster presentations, panel discussions and scientific field trips. Featured speakers will be George Brown, Brazil, Gretchen C Daily, USA, Andy Dobson, USA, Georgina Mace, UK,  Guy Midgley, S-Africa,  Harold A Mooney, USA, David Obura, Kenya (tbc), Stephen Polasky, USA and Achim Steiner from UNEP. In keeping with the Conference title, scientists worldwide are invited to submit proposals for symposia on the following topics:

  • Strengthening biodiversity science: Evolution of biodiversity – Inventorying biodiversity –Monitoring biodiversity changes –Drivers of biodiversity changes – Prediction of biodiversity changes – Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning – Linking ecosystem functioning to ecosystem services
  • Supporting the science policy interface: Conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity – Valuation of biodiversity and ecosystem services – Economic incentives – Biodiversity and development
  • Integrated approaches to topical issues: Agrobiodiversity – Biodiversity and health – Freshwater biodiversity – Invasive species – Marine biodiversity – Mountain biodiversity – Etc.
  • Focus on African issues is welcome

The submission deadline is 15 September 2008. For more information see www.diversitas-osc.org


2009 World Congress of Agroforestry: the Future of Global land Use, 23-28 August 2009, Nairobi, Kenya

The 2nd World Congress of Agroforestry will be held 23-28 August 2009 in Nairobi, Kenya with the theme “Agroforestry—the Future of Global land Use”.  It will focus on opportunities to leverage scientific agroforestry in promoting sustainable land use worldwide. This forum will provide an information sharing service for practitioners and professionals seeking to incorperate agroforestry practices in ecoagriculture landscapes around the globe. 


For more information please see http://worldagroforestry.org/wca2009

Women in Politics and Governance Congress focusing on gender and climate change’, 19-22 October 2008, Metro Manila, Phillippines

 Center for Asia Pacific Women in Politics (CAPWIP) and the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction (UN-ISDR) are hosting the 3rd Global Congress of Women in Politics and Governance on 19-22 October 2008 in Metro Manila, Philippines.  The theme of the congress is “Gender and Climate Change”. Women and environment experts have raised concern over the absence of women in the discourse and debate on climate change.  The current imperative is for women to understand the phenomenon of climate change and its impacts and implications at the individual, household, community and national levels. Invited to this congress are women parliamentarians, women in decision -making and governance, environment organizations, youth leaders and media practitioners.  The congress will provide a forum for women legislators, and women in decision-making and environment organizations at all levels, in formulating gender-responsive legislation and policies.


For more information see http://www.capwip.org/.

Regional Workshop on Dryland Farming Practices in Emergency and Post-Emergency Contexts, 1-2 October 2008, Nairobi, Kenya

The Regional Workshop on Dryland Farming Practices in Emergency and Post-emergency Contexts will be held on 1 and 2 October 2008 in Nairobi, Kenya. The workshop is organized by FAO and will focus on reviewing existing methods and trends in dryland agriculture in emergency situations in the Eastern African region. It will present, review and document success stories and challenges from practitioners of seven participating countries: Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. 


Practitioners are invited to submit specific interventions and work methods that they think can be of interest to others in emergency contexts i.e. agriculture in limited rainfall, arid and semi arid, and drought prone areas. Please fill the relevant case, processes and approaches and resource materials forms found at www.ecoagriculture.org/documents/index.php?pubID=95  and send the filled forms to publications@iirr-africa.org or paul@iirr-africa.org by Monday 18 August 2008.

The newsletter was compiled by Ecoagriculture Partners. For more information, please contact info@ecoagriculture.org. Information about Ecoagriculture Partners and related employment opportunities can be found at www.ecoagriculture.org.