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July 6, 2011

EcoAgriculture Partners Newsletter

It is increasingly apparent that the private sector has a crucial part to play in achieving landscape management goals. Private sector experience can be key for developing creative, cost-efficient solutions, and private sector funding can help fill the gap between what is needed and what is provided by more traditional donors.  But negotiating the most appropriate role for the private sector, and identifying ways to channel private sector investments, can be tricky.  

To address these and other issues, EcoAgriculture Partners, PROFOR, ICRAF, IUCN and TerrAfrica held a “Forum on Mobilizing Private Sector Investment in Trees and Landscape Restoration in Africa” at ICRAF in Nairobi this past May.  Of the 100-plus participants, a third came from private agricultural and forest businesses and finance.  Few of the participants were familiar with all of the main themes of the Forum—business, finance, agroforestry and landscape restoration—resulting in unique and high-level cross-fertilization and learning. Read more about the Investment Forum in the article below. Some of the same themes were discussed last week with food industry companies at the Sustainable Food Lab’s convening in Portland, Oregon. We look forward to tracking promising investments and learning practical lessons for effective engagement of private sector in multi-stakeholder ecoagriculture landscapes.   

Also, make sure to visit our EcoAgriculture Partners Facebook page where we have posted some beautiful photographs of landscapes, links to relevant articles and the results of our recent work with the US Department of Agriculture. We think you’ll find many reasons to ‘like’ us!

Sara Scherr, President
Courtney Wallace
Newsletter editors


Table of Contents


EcoAgriculture Partners Updates

New Board member Ibrahim Thiaw

EcoAgriculture is delighted to welcome new Board Member Ibrahim Thiaw.  A Mauritanian national, Ibrahim currently serves as Director of the Division of Environmental Policy Implementation (DEPI) at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).  Since his early career with the Ministry of Rural Development of Mauritania, and then at the IUCN as Regional Director for West Africa and Acting Director-General, Ibrahim has successfully developed and implemented large-scale environmental programs and initiatives in Africa.  Ibrahim holds an advanced university degree in Forestry and Forest Product Techniques.  Read more about Ibrahim and the rest of the EcoAgriculture Board at:  http://www.ecoagriculture.org/page.php?id

Nairobi Forum: Mobilizing Private Investment in Landscape Restoration

On May 25-27, PROFORWorld Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), IUCN, TerrAfrica and EcoAgriculture Partners convened the Forum on Mobilizing Private Sector Investment in Trees and Landscape Restoration in Africa, at ICRAF in Nairobi. EcoAgriculture President Sara Scherr presented the background paper developed by EcoAgriculture on overlaying private and public/civil society investment in landscape restoration (available for download here) and was a panelist on the same topic. The highly diverse group of participants developed a concrete action plan detailing recommendations for policy, finance, business networking and other themes.  PROFOR will publish a report based on the Forum later this year, and a Policy Brief with the Co-organizers soon.  For more information on the meeting and links to resources, visit http://www.ecoagriculture.org/announcements.php?id.  For full information on the meeting, visit http://www.profor.info/profor/events/Nairobi-forum/.  For more information, contact Peter Dewees or Sara Scherr

Agriculture and Climate Policy Workshop for East Africa

EcoAgriculture, with The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Swedbio and TerrAfrica, convened a workshop entitled “Integrated approaches to agriculture, sustainable land management, and climate change: building the capacity of East Africa’s leaders” in Naivasha, Kenya from 5-7 May 2011.  The workshop aimed to build the knowledge, skills and networks of leaders in diverse government ministries, civic organizations and federations of smallholder farmers to influence the development and implementation of policies that help integrate investment and practice in agriculture, sustainable land management and climate change.  The 30-plus participants were nominated based on demonstrated leadership capacities in agriculture, sustainable land management, climate change and/or policy, and came from Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. EcoAgriculture and partners are hoping to implement similar workshops in other regions. For more information, contact Courtney Wallace

EcoAgriculture PES work

EcoAgriculture Partners recently released two publications on the use of market mechanisms to enhance environmental stewardship on farms and rural lands in the U.S. The Farm of the Future initiative and the Innovations in Market-Based Watershed Conservation in the United States: Payments for Watershed Services for Agricultural and Forest Landowners report chronicle the application of farmer knowledge and new market-based innovations that are changing the way that conservation and rural land stewardship take place in the United States. The Farm of the Future project produced beautiful posters that clearly illustrate how payments for ecosystem services (PES) works for real farmers, as well as briefs and in-depth reports. The payments for watershed services (PWS) report documents new models springing up across the U.S. and the cases have been incorporated into the Conservation Registry. Both efforts are part of EcoAgriculture's program on agricultural PES, which includes the publication of a bimonthly newsletter that helps facilitate information exchange across a global community of PES practitioners and analysts. Read our most recent PES newsletter for more details on Farm of the Future and the Innovations in Market-Based Watershed Conservation report, and make sure to sign up for the newsletter here.

New staff members, summer interns and staff changes

Our DC office is enjoying new energy this summer!  We welcomed Dr. Erik Nielsen at the beginning of May as the new Senior Manager of Knowledge Exchange and Policy Advocacy.  Previously Manager of Country Based Programs for the Water Integrity Network at Transparency International (TI) and based in Germany and Ethiopia, Dr. Nielsen will manage outreach and advocacy functions of a major international ecoagriculture initiative (stay tuned!).  

Our newest hire, Lee Gross, will join our DC team later this month as an Agricultural Markets and Biodiversity Specialist. Lee is an ecologist, economist and agronomist, who holds a Masters from the University of Vermont, and joins us from the field in Gulu, Uganda.

Allison Dappen and Christi Zaleski join us as interns for the summer months.  Allison recently graduated with a degree in Spanish from Middlebury College, and Christi with a degree in Environmental Studies from Brown University.

Courtney Wallace will move to our Ithaca office beginning mid-July.

Lastly, we said farewell to Project Manager Terhi Majanen, who was offered a Foreign Service Officership with USAID.  We thank Terhi for her major contributions to EcoAgriculture, and wish her much good luck!

Humphrey fellow Milan Ivankovic

For the past few summers, we have hosted a Cornell University Fulbright Hubert Humphrey fellow to our office.  This year, we had the pleasure of welcoming Milan Ivankovic, who works for the Ministry of Agriculture, Trade, Forestry and Water Management in his native Serbia.  After a year of professional development in the states, Milan returns home later this month, where he will promote ecoagriculture concepts in South Eastern European policies as they are harmonized with EU Common Agriculture Policies.  Contact Milan at milan.ivankovic@minpolj.gov.rs.  

In the Scene

National Academies Food Security Workshop “Exploring Sustainable Solutions for Increasing Global Food Supplies”

On 2-4 May in Washington, DC, EcoAgriculture participated in a workshop convened by The National Academies (USA) on “Exploring Sustainable Solutions for Increasing Global Food Supplies.” Alongside other presentations on new technologies, management practices, and investments needed to feed the world sustainably by the year 2050, EcoAgriculture’s Director of Research, Dr. Jeffrey Milder, highlighted recent evidence and future opportunities for landscape-level ecosystem management to increase the sustainability of food supplies for local communities and global consumers alike. With diverse disciplines and sectors represented, the workshop identified the need for a plurality of technologies and management approaches, coordinated across multiple scales, to address the world’s food needs while simultaneously meeting goals of environmental protection and climate stabilization. Key workshop outcomes and policy recommendations will be published in a summary report in the coming months. For more information and to view the workshop presentations, please visit http://sites.nationalacademies.org/PGA/sustainability/foodsecurity/PGA_062564

EcoAgriculture in Wall Street Journal on sourcing tropical agricultural products

EcoAgriculture was cited on the front page of the 5 May 2011 Wall Street Journal, in an article describing trends in large business sourcing of tropical products.  Our estimates of the global market for eco-certified goods were used to support recent growth in “certified sustainable” goods.  Such deals between small producers and large buyers can significantly improve the terms of trade for farmers while providing financial incentives for adopting sustainable production systems and conserving local biodiversity.  Access the article online at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704570704576274682898376462.html (subscription required).  For information on EcoAgriculture’s related work, contact Lee Gross.  

Sustainable Agriculture in the New York City foodshed and beyond

A new report showcases six innovative farmers in the Catskills region of New York, illustrating how food production here, if done right, has the potential to provide enough healthy, locally grown food to feed millions of people in New York City and beyond.  The report, Ground Up: Cultivating Sustainable Agriculture in the Catskill Region, was issued by the Open Space Institute in conjunction with the Columbia University Earth Institute Urban Design Lab.  The findings emphasize the creativity of farmers to respond to changing consumer demand and thus reverse the precipitous decimation of family farms in the area, even when lacking formal protection of farmland.  Download the report at 

EcoAgriculture in Aid for Africa blog

Aid for Africa is a partnership of 80 charities dedicated to solving the complex, interrelated challenges on the African continent.  The organization's blog recently highlighted EcoAgriculture's work in relation to agriculture in Africa's development. The blog also describes the recent mandates of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  Read the blog post, entitled "Zeroing in on Farming in Africa as a Key to Long-Term Development" here.

Agriculture, Environment and Climate at IFAD

In early June the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) launched a new Environment and Natural Resource Management policy, calling for an “evergreen revolution” to a resource-efficient, low-carbon green economy.  The policy heralds that investments in sustainable smallholder agriculture, along with policy and institutional reforms, investments in infrastructure and improvements in market access are the key to feeding 9 billion.  Read more about the launch here.    

IFAD also recently published its 2011 Rural Poverty Report.  Much emphasis was again given to the potential - with proper investment - for smallholder farmers to energize agriculture, encourage green growth and alleviate poverty.  Read more at the IFAD Social Reporting blog and The Guardian blog.  Download the 2011 Rural Poverty Report at http://www.ifad.org/rpr2011/index.htm



Bioversity article on promoting traditional crop varieties

A recent special issue from Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences entitled “Towards a More Sustainable Agriculture” features a review article on the nature and contribution of traditional crop varieties to the production strategies of rural communities.  Traditional varieties—or landraces—in general are better adapted to marginal conditions and perform with stability over time and socio-economic conditions as well as being resource efficient. The article, “An Heuristic Framework for Identifying Multiple Ways of Supporting the Conservation and Use of Traditional Crop Varieties within the Agricultural Production System,” authored by researchers at Bioversity International, explains why, given the advantages of landraces, they are not always readily adopted, and suggests ways to overcome possible external factors from seeds to policy.  Read more at the Agrobiodiversity Blog and access the article at http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db.

Meridian Institute report on agriculture in the climate change negotiations

In response to the evolving role of agriculture in climate negotiations, the Meridian Institute released “Addressing Agriculture in Climate Change Negotiations: A Scoping Report” at the UNFCCC SBSTA meeting in Bonn earlier this month.  Developed by a team of expert authors and the result of an eight-month consultative process with UNFCCC negotiators and other key stakeholders, the report aims to provide objective analysis to be used to inform the international climate negotiations and other processes in the areas of agricultural production and food security, early action, trade, finance, technology and capacity building and performance and benefits measurement.  The post-Bonn process involves author review of feedback, with an eye toward the 17th COP in Durban.  The scoping report and executive summary are available for download at http://climate-agriculture.org/en/The_Report.aspx

Agroecology and the Right to Food

UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier de Schutter, recently presented his article “Agro-ecology and the Right to Food” to the United Nations Human Rights Council.  Touted in the article as a way to address poverty and climate challenges, agroecology applies ecological science to the design of agriculture systems to enhance soil health, pest incidence and productivity - and, attests de Schutter, can double the production of smallholder farmers working in critical areas in the next decade.  Access the report and more information at  http://www.srfood.org/index.php/en/component/content/article/1-latest-news/1174-report-agroecology-and-the-right-to-food

Transforming US agriculture

A recent expert panel article in the journal Science comments more generally on the need to transform how agriculture is regulated in the United States, to sustain food security and ecosystem health, and address climate change.  Read more at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110505142600.htm and access the article online at http://www.sciencemag.org/content/332/6030/670 (subscription required for full-text).

New FAO book “Save and Grow”

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) released on 13 June a book entitled Save and Grow to address the interconnected current and predicted challenges facing farmers, including climate change, reduced agricultural productivity and increased competition for land, water and energy. The book offers a practical toolkit of farming systems, technologies and practices and promotes the kinds of agricultural management systems that conserve the natural resource base while increasing farmer yields - such as conservation agriculture, integrated pest management, and deficit irrigation--and investigates the policies and institutions required to achieve sustainable intensification.  To learn more about Save and Grow, visit http://www.fao.org/ag/save-and-grow/

Free copies of SLM and climate change video series

The International Institute for Environment and Development and the Centre for International Cooperation vrije Universities are offering free copies of a new DVD on Sustainable Land Management Technologies for Climate Change Adaptation in Africa.  The mini-films, of five to minutes each, showcase two technologies with documented success in Africa - Stone Lines and Fanya Juu - from construction, design specifications and input requirements to examples of mature systems and farmer perspectives.  To obtain a free copy, email newbooks@iied.org

MITI Magazine

MITI Magazine is an important resource for farmers, researchers, investors and policymakers and others (including non-professionals) working in tree planting or related fields.  The first of its kind in East Africa, MITI presents news updates and information on business trends and tree and water management, with a goal of improving reforestation/afforestation in East Africa and elsewhere.  For more information on MITI Magazine, including subscription and advertising information, visit http://www.betterglobeforestry.com/miti-magazine

Translation of No-Till Farming Systems to several languages

No-Till Farming Systems was first published by the World Association of Soil and Water Conservation (WASWAC) in 2008, and was composed of contributions by more than 60 authors from 20 counties on no-tillage experiences.  An immediate bestseller, the publication has recently made its debut translated into Chinese and French, and the publishers are currently working on versions in Spanish, Urdu, Tamil, Persian, Arabic, Armenian and Turkish.  Additionally, WASWAC would like to translate the book to many more languages.  Anyone who is able and willing to translate the book to any language that has not been cited, to be published and distributed among the language users, please write to Dr. Samran Sombatpanit. You will be provided with the digital format (PUB files) that can be translated directly.  To promote no-tillage systems widely, WASWAC offers the translation right at no cost.

In the United States, the No-Till Farming Systems book is available online for purchase at http://www.ctic.purdue.edu/CTIC HOME/ONLINE STORE/Product Catalog/ or by writing to Conservation Technology Information Center, 3495 Kent Avenue, Suite J100, West Lafayette, IN 47906 USA, Tel: (765) 494-9555; Fax: (765) 463-4106, ctic@ctic.org. From other countries, please contact your WASWAC country representative or email Dr. Sombatpanit.

Global Mechanism launches new SLM finance website

The South-South Cooperation programme of the Global Mechanism (GM) of the Convention to Combat Desertification recently launched a new website at www.scopeacp.net designed to engage stakeholders in the sustainable land management financial process. Through capacity building, knowledge management and the fostering of strategic partnerships, the website provides the kinds of tools that increase utilization of existing financial resources as well as helping to increase access to new and innovative ones.  Scope|acp is the UNCCD component of a multi-partner programme funded by the European Union, entitled 'Capacity Building related to Multilateral Environmental Agreements in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries' (ACP MEAs) and is funded by the European Union and coordinated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). A French version of the site is in development.  For more information, visit www.scopeacp.net or email scopeapc@globalmechanism.org.

Late 2011 course at Wageningen University on landscape management

Wageningen UR Centre for Development Innovation is offering a course from 21 November - 2 December 2011 on applying strategic planning approaches for sustainable natural resource governance entitled "Landscape functions and people."  Recognizing the emergence of the landscape approach of integrated natural resource management, this web-based course brings together practitioners, policymakers and academics with an aim to establish a strong learning network with ongoing projects that link theory with practice. The course is conducted in close collaboration with RECOFT, Bangkok and includes a four day field practice. For more information, visit http://www.cdi.wur.nl/UK/newsagenda/agenda/Landscape_functions_and_people.htm

Right tree for the right place tool

A new tool developed by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and Forest and Landscape Denmark uses Google Earth to help tree-planters decide which species to plant, based on native or historical vegetation.  Useful Trees Species for Africa provides available information on indigenous species, including potential to provide food - such as edible fruits or vegetables, medicine, wood products--such as timber, beehives or utensils, or environmental services - such as soil improvement, windbreaks or shade.  The tool was developed under the UNEP-GEF Carbon Benefits Project, which establishes ways to enable carbon stocks and greenhouse gas emissions to be measured and modeled under present as well as more sustainable management. For more information, visit http://www.worldagroforestrycentre.org/our_products/databases/useful-tree-species-africa

Upcoming Events

Conservation Sciences and Policy: Global Perspectives and Applications, 17-20 July 2011, Washington, DC

The Soil and Water Conservation Society’s annual international conference offers lectures, presentations, workshops, and field trips focused on conservation in agricultural systems. Under the focus of improving the linkages among conservation science, policy and application at local, national, and international scales, wide-ranging topics cover greenhouse gas emissions reductions and incentives for preserving watershed services. For more information and to register, visit http://www.swcs.org/index.cfm?nodeID=27786&audienceID=1.

4th World Conference on Ecological Restoration, 21-25 August 2011, Merida, Mexico

With a theme of "Re-establishing the Link between Nature and Culture," the World Conference of the Society for Ecological Restoration International (SER) builds on the momentum of past SER conferences to be an important global forum for advancing the approaches to global challenges of biodiversity and habitat loss, climate change, and sustainable development. To learn more about SER2011, including the keynote and plenary speakers, topics of symposia and training workshops, concurrent scientific sessions and field trips, visit http://www.ser2011.org/en/ser2011/.   

Two fall RRI Dialogues on Forest, Governance and Climate Change

The Rights and Resources Initiative announces the 10th and 11th in its “Dialogue on Forests, Governance and Climate Change” series.  Both meetings are critical in the on-going debates and agenda settings for a variety of upcoming fora, including the Committee on Food Security in October, the UNFCCC COP 17 in December, the Landscapes for People Food and Nature International Forum in 2012, the follow-up conference to The Hague Global Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change which will take place in Vietnam in 2012, and other forest, food and agriculture related initiatives.  
  • The 10th Dialogue is entitled “Common approaches to dealing with the challenges of food security and climate change in forests and agriculture” and will take place from 7-8 September 2011 in The Hague, The Netherlands.  It is co-organized by Oxfam and RRI in collaboration with LAND Academy, Netherlands and EcoAgriculture Partners.
  • The 11th RRI Dialogue is entitled “Status and Role of Public and Private Finance to Reduce Forest Loss and Degradation” and will take place  on 12 October 2011 at the House of Commons, London, UK.  It is co-organized by The Forest Peoples Programme, Forest Trends and RRI.

17th IFOAM Organic World Congress, 26 September - 5 October 2011, Republic of Korea

The theme of the first Organic World Congress in Asia by the International Federation on Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) is “Organic is Life.” It emphasizes the philosophy of organic farmers in Korea based on the circulation of natural resources and the reverence for all living things.  There will be a special focus on smallholder farmers, and the kinds of development, innovation and business models that enhance the livelihoods of smallholders and their contribution to the organic movement.  Other topics include organic agriculture and water conservation, short supply chains and collaboration between organic movements and local governments.  For full information on the main conference, side events and logistics, visit the Congress website at http://www.kowc2011.org/eng/
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.