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9 November 2011

EcoAgriculture Partners Newsletter

We are very excited about the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature (LPFN) Initiative that we launched last week, along with our partners Bioversity International, Conservation International, the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, FAO, UNEP, UNU-International Partnership for Satoyama Initiative, and the World Agroforestry Centre.  It can seem sometimes as if all one hears about is the immensity of today’s global challenges, and so we are thrilled to be co-organizing an effort to showcase the innovations, collaborations and strategies being developed to overcome these challenges.  The three-year LPFN initiative will document successes and lessons learned, and mobilize action to scale up and improve landscape approaches that integrate interests across multiple sectors to realize better livelihoods, improve agricultural yields, and sustain wild biodiversity and ecosystem services, with an eye for the long term.

If you have not already, we invite you to explore our new LPFN website.  Learn about the Global Review, the ambitious research element of the initiative, and the series of Dialogues that will bring together key perspectives and develop an action agenda.  Make sure to check the website often, to stay on top of Action and Advocacy efforts to support integrated landscapes at the policy level.

How can you get involved? First, you can sign up for LPFN updates here.  Consider the ways that you can share the results and recommendations at local, regional and national levels in your home landscape. Stay tuned for the Initiative Blog, scheduled to launch in January 2012.  And make sure to ‘like’ us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter as @EcoAgPartners!

Best regards,

Sara Scherr, President
Courtney Wallace
Newsletter editors


EcoAgriculture Partners would like to pay our respects to Professor Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and founder of Kenya’s Green Belt Movement who passed away in Nairobi last month. EcoAgriculture’s Landscapes and Leaders program director Louise Buck had the good fortune to collaborate with Professor Maathai in the late 1970s and early 80s in learning about ways that women in Kenya could best organize to manage small scale nurseries, as well as configurations of native and naturalized tree plantings that would diversify their farming systems and improve productivity.  The gendered community-based agroforestry approach to tree planting that emerged became a foundational element of the integrated landscape management that characterizes ecoagriculture.  EcoAgriculture feels grateful for the opportunity to help carry forward the legacy of Dr. Maathai.


Table of Contents


EcoAgriculture Partners Updates

RRI Dialogue on food security, forests and climate change in The Hague

The Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) and Oxfam in collaboration with IS Academy on Land Governance (LANDac), Netherlands and EcoAgriculture Partners, convened an international Dialogue in The Hague, 7-8 September, on “Common Approaches to Dealing with the Challenges of Food Security and Climate Change in Forests and Agriculture.”  This was the 10th in RRI’s Dialogue series on Forests, Governance and Climate Change.  By bringing together the communities of practice that deal with different but interrelated issues, the Dialogue considered issues such as agriculture as a driver in forest loss and degradation, the role forests play in providing food for the rural poor, and the implications of feeding nine billion people by 2050 without destroying the natural resources on which all people—in particular rural and forest dwellers—rely for their livelihoods and food security.  For more information, including copies of powerpoint presentations and a meeting summary report, visit the RRI website here.

EcoAgriculture supports ‘greening’ of commercial agricultural corridor in Tanzania

In October, EcoAgriculture began a new collaboration with the Agricultural Council of Tanzania (ACT), to engage with stakeholders in southern Tanzania to develop a vision and process for realizing sustainable agricultural landscapes.  The initiative will involve private sector and government agencies working on the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) agro-industrial initiative, as well as protected area managers, REDD (Reducing Emissions through Deforestation and Degradation) projects in the area, conservation agriculture programs, Village Councils and other land managers. EcoAgriculture’s participation is supported by the Governments of Norway and the United Kingdom. Louise Buck and Jeff Milder, Directors of EcoAgriculture’s Landscapes and Leaders, and Research Programs, respectively, spent two weeks during October and November meeting with partners to initiate the project. For more information, contact Louise Buck.

Agricultural carbon project workshop in east Africa

From 22-23 September, EcoAgriculture Partners facilitated a workshop in Kisumu, Kenya initiating Phase 2 of our project on Institutional Analysis and Capacity-Building of Agricultural Carbon Projects in Africa, which is implemented in collaboration with the Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) Programme.  Phase 1 of the project consisted of working with six carbon projects to develop in depth institutional baselines. These will shortly be published jointly with CCAFS along with a synthesis of lessons learned from them. Participants in Phase 2 include four of these six projects: CARE in western Kenya (also known as Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change), World Vision in Humbo, Ethiopia, Ecotrust’s Trees for Global Benefits, Uganda; and Vi Agroforestry in western Kenya.  Representatives of each of these projects attended the workshop.

The Kisumu workshop began with participants sharing experiences and lessons learned from Phase 1.  Projects then agreed on a Participatory Action Research (PAR) topic relevant to all of them which will be the foundation for future work. Having a single research topic will allow the projects to learn from each other's project experiences and to collaborate on action research methodology development. The research topic selected was "Strengthening local institutional capacity to sustainably manage agricultural carbon projects."  EcoAgriculture will work with the projects over the coming months to refine the preliminary PAR plans, and will begin to implement the plans early next year. For more information, contact Seth Shames.

Satoyama Inception workshop held in Accra

The Inception Workshop for “Community Development and Knowledge Management for a Satoyama Initiative (COMDEKS)” was held in Accra, Ghana from 24-26 September. The workshop, sponsored by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the GEF-Small Grants Programme and the Satoyama Initiative, was co-facilitated by EcoAgriculture Partners.  The workshop brought together national coordinators and program assistants from eight of the first eleven countries to implement COMDEKS to shape a Satoyama vision for managing socio-ecological production landscapes in their home countries, gain technical knowledge and learn about tools for integrated landscape management, and build strategies for implementing COMDEKS in each of the eleven countries. The workshop prepared national coordinators to begin the process of selecting landscapes to support and build resilience through participatory, multi-stakeholder projects funded by small grants.

This workshop is part of a five-year partnership between the government of Japan and the UNDP to promote Satoyama principles that conserve wildlife and crop biodiversity, water quality, and soil health, all while improving food security and rural livelihoods. Lessons from this initiative will go towards replication and scaling up successful projects on a wider global level. For more information on this partnership, visit the Satoyama Initiative website here or contact Nick Remple.

EcoAgriculture Partners will continue to provide tools and engage participants in discussion on managing and communicating knowledge to meet the needs and build the capacity of stakeholders in the landscapes while sharing knowledge for up-scaling COMDEKS in new landscapes around the world.  For more information on this work, contact Louise Buck.

Food security and landscape resilience: New collaboration with the World Food Programme

EcoAgriculture Partners is very pleased to announce a new collaborative project with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), on “Enhancing Food Security Resilience through Strengthened Natural Resource Management at Community and Landscape Scales.”  Together, we will examine how WFP’s existing field projects addressing food insecurity can be strengthened to be more resilient in the face of climate change and other challenges. WFP is also supporting an international study of lessons learned about landscape approaches to enhance food security and resilience, for the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative’s Global Review. For more information, contact Louise Buck.

Ecoagriculture Policy Focus No. 7: Payments for watershed services in the United States

We just published a new policy brief on incentive payments for watershed services (PWS) entitled, Payments for watershed services in the United States: Cost-effective strategies to align landowner incentives for abundant clean water.  This brief is based on a longer report, written by Terhi Majanen, Rachel Friedman and Jeff Milder, published earlier this year, sharing the results from our survey of new or emerging PWS project models their characteristics and potential to be scaled up.  PWS is a voluntary, market-based mechanism that pays farmers or landowners to provide watershed services through the adoption of specific land management practices.  This brief will add to the approaching 2012 Farm Bill debates, with implications for both the US and international policy arenas.

The brief can be downloaded on the EcoAgriculture website, here, and see the longer report Innovations in Market-Based Watershed Conservation here. Also note that you can keep abreast of news and updates in payments for watershed and ecosystem services by signing up for our Ecoagriculture PES Newsletter on the upper left hand of the page here.

Lee Gross conducts interview with Bill Weber

An interview Lee Gross conducted with conservationist Bill Weber of the Wildlife Conservation Society was recently published online. The interview explores lessons for 21st century conservation, highlighting case studies from Bill's experience with primate conservation in Rwanda, and communities in Adirondack Park in New York, USA. The conversation revolves around thinking and planning at landscape scales, balancing human-wildlife interactions, integrated approaches and guiding multi-stakeholder groups towards sustainable outcomes. Read the interview here and stay tuned for an upcoming addition to our Snapshot series on holistic management in the Adirondacks.

Senior Advisor Huntington Hobbs

We are delighted to welcome Huntington Hobbs to our team half-time as a senior advisor to our Landscapes and Leaders Program.  Raised in Mexico, with a Masters in Business Administration, tenures with Winrock International, the Millennium Challenge Corporation and Conservation International, and decades of development experience in over 70 countries, Hunt will provide key input to our work.

Intern Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson joined our DC office in mid-October as an intern, to support outreach and advocacy efforts for the Landscapes Initiative, including the Initiative blog. Sarah received her B.A. in Politics from Pomona College in May 2011, focusing on corruption, aid and statehood. Working travels to Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Hawaii and the Florida Keys, and proficiency in both French and Swahili, round out Sarah’s experience.  We are happy to have her on the team through March 2012.

In the Scene

Prince Charles convenes international leaders in low emission rural development

On 27 October, Prince Charles of the United Kingdom convened an informal High-Level Summit on “Low Emission Rural Development and the Private Sector: Integrating and accelerating REDD+, Climate Smart Agriculture, Landscape Restoration and Agricultural Commodity Roundtables” at Somerset House in London. Sara Scherr, President of EcoAgriculture Partners, was one of about 70 participants invited to discuss how to build bridges among the different initiatives underway in the agriculture and forestry sectors to mitigate climate change and shape low-emission rural development strategies. The identified goal was to meet challenges of food security, climate change mitigation, biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation in an integrated way, through re/afforestation, increased productivity and restoration of degraded lands.

Initiatives discussed included REDD+ (Yemi Katerere), Climate-Smart Agriculture (Juergen Voegele of the World Bank), the Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration (Tim Rollinson), the Global Restoration Council (Nigel Sizer), and Agricultural Commodity Roundtables (Gavin Neath of Unilever). Private sector leaders from Bonsucro, Kingfisher, Sime Darby, Grupo Maggi, and the Consumer Goods Council discussed potentials for private-public partnership. Government leaders included President Ali Bongo of Gabon, and senior ministers and directors of Brazil, Germany, Guyana, Netherlands, Norway, South Africa and the U.K.

There was agreement among the group of the need to “move from silos to the landscape approach” and that a landscape framework will enable these diverse approaches to land management to be effectively integrated. Working groups identified concrete short-term actions to advance this integrated agenda, and Sara introduced the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative as one mechanism to do so.  For more information, see the International Sustainability Unit’s website here.

Convention to Combat Desertification Meeting in Gyeongam, Korea

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) held its Tenth Conference of the Parties (COP 10) in Gyeongam, Korea, 10-21 October 2011.  This was the first time the UNCCD COP met in an Asian country.  The UNCCD was created as an effort to halt desertification and mitigate damage from droughts through international financial and technical support for member parties experiencing severe droughts and desertification, and to contribute to sustainable development of affected areas.  COP 10 benefited from lessons learned in Korean efforts to green lands, and the success of the Saemaul movement to develop and modernize the country.

The meeting emphasized the importance of documenting the financial benefits of sustainable land management (SLM).  The need to generate compelling evidence for the economic savings and benefits generated by SLM programs is key to the UNCCD’s ability to convince Ministries of Finance to engage in SLM. As a result, several countries, including Tanzania, Cambodia, Spain, Turkey and Zambia, are utilizing a new assessment system developed by the OSLO (Offering Sustainable Land-Use Options) Consortium that illustrates the economic value of land.  The OSLO assessment will be used to demonstrate that responsible land use will result in considerable financial and socioeconomic returns through the multiple ecosystem services it generates in these countries.

It was also announced at the COP 10 that Dennis Garrity, the former Director General of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), and former member of the Board of EcoAgriculture Partners, was appointed as the new UN Drylands Ambassador.  Dr. Garrity is well known for his recent work to promote an Evergreen Revolution in Africa.

Visit the COP 10 website here to learn more about the UNCCD and the proceedings in Korea, and to access background materials and resources.

The Nature Conservancy’s New Agriculture Program

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is best known in the realm of conserving nature, but in fact, TNC has a large portfolio of work aiming to make agriculture more sustainable. A recent internal planning exercise, however, concluded that TNC’s work—although successful at project-level on the ground—was too decentralized to make a difference at a large scale.  Thus, to facilitate regular communication and collaboration between projects and between departments under a systematic framework, TNC established an Agriculture Program. 

The Program’s new director, David Cleary, explained that the Agriculture Program aims to spatially understand the implications and trade-offs of changing land use patterns; simply “red-lining” conservation areas does not adequately address threats to conservation.  Sustainable intensification of agriculture will be necessary to feed the growing global population, but there is a difference between expanding cropland into pastures and expanding into natural grasslands. 

Cleary outlined the comparative advantages that TNC has to go forward with an agriculture agenda.  First, there is TNC’s large influence, including a presence in every state in the US and every city over a certain size, with a very broad volunteer and Board network.  Second, TNC has adopted a pragmatic emphasis in implementing solutions in important conservation landscapes, establishing close working relationships with farmers and organizations in field, for example in Brazil, to do so.  Third, the TNC has a long history of engaging with US-based agricultural organizations and trade associations, building long-term trust.

The Program also has a policy focus, and Cleary’s team is currently tracking Brazil’s discussions around the country’s Forest Code as well as the US’s Farm Bill debates.  For more information, visit the TNC website here or contact David Cleary.

Integrative approaches to rebuilding post-Tsunami Japan

The “Great East Japan Earthquake Rebuilding Symposium—Exploring Integrative Approaches from Land to Sea” was held at UNU Headquarters in Tokyo on Friday, 5 August 2011 to investigate how an integrative approach, with specific focus on the linkages between land and sea, might address the immense challenges faced by affected communities.  Speakers included those who are actively working to rebuild systems of agriculture, forestry and fisheries in Tohoku region in addition to experts outside of Japan.  There was careful consideration of the rooted challenges in these communities, such as aging populations, which are crucial to long-term restoration and adoption of Satoyama principles (also see article in Updates section).  The outcomes of this symposium will be presented at various meetings and occasions, including the currently on-going meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity Scientific Body (SBSTTA).  For more information, the Symposium is archived here.

Climate-smart Agriculture Conference adopts Wageningen Statement

The Global Science Conference on Climate-Smart Agriculture, held 24-26 October 2011, in Wageningen, The Netherlands, convened scientists from 38 countries to review the current state of global knowledge on climate-smart agriculture as well as identify the priorities for moving forward.  The meeting was a follow-up to the Global Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change held one year ago to further develop the agriculture, food security and climate change agenda. 

The meeting concluded with the adoption of “The Wageningen Statement: Climate-Smart Agriculture—Science for Action” that explicitly acknowledges the interrelated challenges of addressing food security, poverty eradication and climate change adaptation and mitigation in the context of a growing world population and commits an agenda to integrated solutions involving all relevant stakeholders, with an emphasis on landscapes and the policy context.  The Wageningen Statement can be accessed here and the Conference website here.

ECADERT training course on territorial development

The third meeting of the Central American Course in Rural Territorial Development (ECADERT) was held 5-9 September 2011 in San Salvador, El Salvador convening 50 practitioners from Central America and the Dominican Republic. Participation in this meeting was part of a course for building the capacity to implement rural development with a focus on territories through the approach outlined by ECADERT. Participants will apply their learning in national priority landscapes by engaging in participatory planning and action with Territorial Action Groups. Following this final meeting, the working groups from each country will continue learning through online guidance and assessment until they have developed strategic plans for their landscape. Results will be presented at national meetings. Those who complete the process will receive certification as rural territorial development managers. The course organizers hope this will be the first of many courses offered that will expand the use of a participatory approaches and territorial development from Central America to the rest of Latin America. For more information, contact Abby Hart, who participated virtually for portions of the course.

First General Assembly of the new World Farmers’ Organisation

An international gathering of farming organizations in March 2011 in Brussels, Belgium formally created the World Farmers' Organisation (WFO) with the aim to be the voice of farmers on the global level.  Over 50 national farmers’ organizations and agricultural cooperative federations from all over the world met at an Inaugural General Meeting in Stellenbosch, South Africa, over 12-13 September 2011, to discuss how the WFO could best contribute to the on-going discussions concerning food security, climate change and global economics of agricultural production as well as develop a policy and advocacy agenda. The meeting adopted a Declaration, accessible here, which outlines the aim to harmonize agricultural production across many sectors as well as promote farmers as stewards of the climate.

The mission of the World Farmers’ Organisation is to improve the economic situation of producers and contribute towards achieving world food security. Among its objectives, the WFO aims to encourage farmers’ involvement in sustainable rural development, the environment and new challenges such as climate change.  The result of the first election of officers was: President, Robert Carlson (NFU USA); Board Members, Africa—Jervis Zimba (ZNFU Zambia), Asia—Akira Banzai (JA Jenchu Japan), Europe--Berit Hundala (Norwegian Farmers’ Union), North America—Ron Bonnett (CFA Canada).  For more information, visit the WFO website, here.

CGIAR and science leaders discuss research agenda for the agriculture-environment nexus

Recognizing the great need and opportunity for research and innovation to make agriculture more sustainable, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) devoted their 2011 Science Forum to the theme of “The Agriculture-Environment Nexus.” Almost 300 leading scientists from the CGIAR, universities, research centers, and NGOs convened in Beijing from 17-19 October for the semi-annual event. The Forum explored research frontiers for resilient, resource-conserving agriculture, through management at the farm, landscape, and global levels. Speakers and discussions noted the importance of new interdisciplinary research methods and partnerships in areas such as agricultural biodiversity, agriculture-deforestation dynamics, metrics and monitoring to assess multi-functional landscapes, and the science of scaling-up resource-conserving agriculture. Jeff Milder represented EcoAgriculture Partners at the event to help align EcoAgriculture’s own Global Review of integrated agriculture-environment landscape approaches with key CGIAR initiatives. For more information about the Science Forum and to download the booklet of abstracts, visit the Science Forum website here.

10th Anniversary Quivira Coalition Conference

The 10th Anniversary Quivira Coalition Conference, is currently meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA, 8-10 November 2011, and is focusing on “New Agrarians."  New Agrarians, according to Quivira’s Executive Director, Courtney White, are the new farm, ranch and conservation leaders implementing creative, hands-on ideas and practices to transform management of land and water resources. The conference includes an all-day workshop on “Managing Rangelands for Success in the 21st Century.”  To learn more, visit the Quivira Coalition’s Facebook page here.


An Ecosystems Approach to Water and Food Security

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and 19 other partners, including EcoAgriculture Partners, launched a new report entitled An Ecosystems Approach to Water and Food Security during World Water Week in Stockholm this past August.  The report, edited by Eline Boelee, Thomas Chiramba and Elizabeth Khaka, shows how an ecosystems-based approach to agriculture can result in efficient water use, restored farmlands, better pest control and benefits to local communities.  The authors suggest new approaches to environmental protection, water resources management and food production to achieve such benefits, as well as highlight the kinds of policies and collaborations that are necessary.  Read a detailed announcement of the report on the EcoAgriculture website here.  The report, as well as the background document Ecosystems for Water and Food Security, can be downloaded here.

“Sustaining Forests” published in UNEP Policy Series on Ecosystem Management

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) recently published Sustaining forests: Investing in our common future, the fifth in the organization’s Ecosystem Management Policy Series.  The brief gives evidence for the multiple values of forest assets—from environmental and productive to resilience development and poverty reduction.  With careful analysis of threats, the authors suggest policy and market solutions for sustainable management of the world’s forests, including increased engagement of the private sector, strengthened institutions, and establishment and awareness of best practices.  EcoAgriculture Board Member Ibrahim Thiaw co-authored the policy brief along with Richard Munang of UNEP, Jessica Thompson of the Inter-American Development Bank, David Ganz and Evan Girvetz of The Nature Conservancy, and Mike Rivington of the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute.  The report can be downloaded on the UNEP website here.

Agribusiness for Africa’s Prosperity

There is growing interest in the potential role of agribusiness in Africa’s development, and the types of infrastructure necessary to bring significant growth to the farming and agro-industrial sectors.  The authors of Agribusiness for Africa’s Prosperity, recently published by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and available for free on the UNIDO website here, argue that in order for Africa to transition into a significant global agricultural power it is necessary to harness market demand through agribusiness, which the current agriculture growth strategy fails to do.  The report clarifies the barriers to adoption of agribusiness development, as well as the types of necessary structural transformation and the policy environment that would enable adoption.

Call for Papers, Partners, and Proposals

BIT’s 1st Annual World Congress of Biodiversity 2012

BIT Life Sciences works to spread information around the world, with an aim to harmonize different global cultures working in the bio-sciences.  BIT is holding its First Annual World Congress of Biodiversity, 25-28 April 2012 in Xi’an, China.  The theme, “Today Eco-civilization, Tomorrow Happiness,” will be explored in a set of seven symposiums on topics such as the policy and economics of biodiversity protection, biological invasions and setting targets of biodiversity.  For full information, visit the Congress’ website, here.

Food Security Center Offering PhD Scholarships

The Food Security Center (FSC) at the University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany is awarding up to ten scholarships for PhD students, for a period of 37 months. Selection is conducted on a competitive basis.  For full information, visit the FSC website here or email scholarship coordinators.

Call for Nominations: 2012 US Water Prize

The United States Water Prize was created by the Clean Water American Alliance to recognize efforts made to advance sustainable solutions to water management in the US.  Nominations for the 2012 Water Prize are open for individuals and organizations, through 7 December 2011.  Visit the US Water Prize website, here for full information.
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.