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November 28, 2012

EcoAgriculture Partners Newsletter

Landscape Management for Food Security – A Window for Action

Mainstream dialogues on food security are starting to recognize the value of ecoagriculture landscapes, and this was quite evident at the October meeting of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in Rome. The CFS underwent a reform process in 2009 to ensure that the voices of diverse stakeholders were heard in the global debate on food security and nutrition. With this shift in mind, Ambassador Yaya Olaniran, the Chair of the CFS, highlighted the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative in plenary as “a promising new partnership for food security.” These developments have opened an exciting window for action by the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative.
In Rome, the Initiative organized a standing-room-only side event titled “Landscape Approaches to Achieve Food Security in the Context of Climate Change.” Kwesi Atta-Krah of Biodiversity International asked each panelist to explain why their organization is embracing integrated landscape management. I was moved by their examples and inspired by their different but complementary perspectives.
Elwyn Grainger-Jones of IFAD sees landscapes as a way to embrace the challenging complexity that farmers face. He pointed to landscape-level solutions for climate adaptation in the Mekong Delta. Doug Brown of World Vision highlighted the dramatic food security benefits in Niger from restoring tree cover on millions of hectares of drylands. Emile Frison of Bioversity International noted the value of landscape approaches in harnessing agrobiodiversity to improve agricultural productivity. Carlo Scaramella of the World Food Programme noted that 80 percent of food-insecure people live in degraded landscapes; some of WFP's most powerful large-scale food security actions are ecosystem restoration, as in the coastal region of Vietnam, the highlands of Ethiopia and the Loess Plateau of China. Julien Custot of FAO added the critical role of landscape management in urban region food systems, to supply food, fuel, and water and to process waste, as well as to protect forests and biodiversity and secure the right to food. 
Participants highlighted the importance of having inclusive mechanisms and clear avenues for local people to advocate for their own objectives in landscape planning, including food security. As Julien noted “People shape the agenda--as consumers, as producers and as citizens.” 

Sara J. Scherr, President, EcoAgriculture Partners


Table of Contents

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



EcoAgriculture Partners Updates

Packed House at Landscapes Initiative Side Event during Committee on World Food Security Meeting

Titled "Whole Landscape Approaches to Achieve Food Security in the Face of Climate Change," the event featured speakers from Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative co-organizers and allied organizations, including Sara Scherr of EcoAgriculture Partners, discussing recent work on landscape approaches to manage climate change resilience and adaptation. The side event of the 39th Meeting of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) took place in Rome on 18 October 2012 and was organized by EcoAgriculture Partners and Bioversity International on behalf of the Initiative. Dialogue focused on policies, programs and partnerships and how these could be harmonized to encourage climate-resilient landscapes that enhance multiple benefits of food security, agricultural development, water and ecosystem services.

The meeting concluded with focused discussion of the ways in which the CFS and its agencies could support the whole landscape approach as an essential framework for dealing with food security and ensuring environmental sustainability in the face of climate change. See Sara Scherr's editorial, above, for more on CFS.

EcoAgriculture Partners Visits Restored Landscapes in Ethiopia to Plan Next Steps

Sara Scherr talks MERET with local stakeholder and WFP Rep.
This October President Sara Scherr and Senior Manager for Landscapes and Leaders Raffaela Kozar visited MERET (Managing Environmental Resources to Enable Transitions to more sustainable livelihoods) sites in the Tigray Region of Ethiopia that are supported by the Government of Ethiopia and the World Food Programme (WFP). Kozar and Scherr are working with WFP to evaluate programs in Ethiopia through the lens of a framework developed by EcoAgriculture Partners to provide WFP insight on ways to enhance and scale-up the resilience of communities in areas with chronic food insecurity and high poverty. EcoAgriculture Partners is also supporting WFP’s strategic planning for next steps for the MERET program in Ethiopia and other countries.

Scherr and Kozar visited areas that were formerly severely degraded, with drastically damaged or destroyed agricultural productivity, that have been completely rehabilitated in less than a decade. The MERET program has restored more than 85,000 hectares of severely degraded land in Ethiopia to date. Rehabilitation has produced demonstrable impacts on environmental services, increased agricultural production, and improved livelihoods. Specifically, terracing, culverts, small dams, and hundreds of new shallow wells provide reliable water for irrigation while also controlling erosion, which has increased the cultivable area and the productivity per hectare. Increased production has allowed diversification into high value vegetable and fruit crops that provide new dietary nutrients and increased incomes. For more on the MERET program, visit WFP's program site here.

Hurricane Sandy Can't Keep Ecoagriculture Out of the Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development

Despite Hurricane Sandy grounding all flights from New York and stranding EcoAgriculture Partners' planned meeting attendee Dr. Louise Willemen in Ithaca, EcoAgriculture Partners was still active in the discussion at GCARD2, the 2nd Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development. The meeting, which took place from October 29 to November 1 in Punta del Este, Uruguay, had an impressive social media and web footprint, inviting interaction from organizations and individuals watching the webcasts of sessions on their computers around the world. EcoAgriculture Partners contributed to that fulsome discussion via our Twitter handle @EcoAgPartners and on the Landscapes Blog. See EcoAgriculture Partners' wrap up of the digital conversation on smallholder involvement in agricultural research here.

Meanwhile, Louise Willemen and Sara Scherr had prepared and organized a panel discussion titled "Land, Water, Forests and Landscapes" for the parallel session on partnerships P2.2, and thanks to the unwavering support of Jeff Sayer and others it went off without a hitch in Louise's absence. The preparatory brief for the session can be found here, and our report on the session and its impact is on the Landscapes Blog, here.

EcoAgriculture Partners Helps Launch Sustainable Land Management Project in Eastern and Southern Africa

From October 15th  – 16th, 2012 EcoAgriculture Partners participated in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) launch of a project to provide institutional support to New Partnerships for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and Regional Economic Commissions (RECs) to scale-up sustainable land management (SLM) in sub-Saharan Africa. EcoAgriculture Partners participated in the meeting as a strategic partner of TerrAfrica in the implementing a capacity building project for the RECs. The project aims to contribute through:
  • Regional coalition building, to strengthen capacities in negotiation and advocacy for effective use of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) and knowledge management to inform and guide policy;
  • Regional knowledge management, with an aim to enhance strategic investment plans and stakeholders’ decision-making ability with data, and;
  • Support to country SLM programs through support to strategic investment plan programme coordination and country investment planning. 
The project will develop SLM indicators at the regional level, and share best practices at the regional and continental levels. EcoAgriculture Partners has a joint work plan to provide technical support for implementation of the project with TerrAfrica. At the COMESA project launch, EcoAgriculture delivered a set of presentations on potential curriculum for leadership development and climate and agriculture policy, potential strategies for harmonization of the M&E framework at regional and continental levels, preliminary results of the ongoing review of integrated landscape initiatives in Africa, and potential engagement of SLM country projects with the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative.

Publication: From Climate-Smart Agriculture to Climate-Smart Landscapes

The journal Agriculture & Food Security recently published an article by Sara Scherr, Seth Shames and Rachel Friedman on climate-smart agriculture and landscapes titled "From Climate-Smart Agriculture to Climate-Smart Landscapes." The article shows that in order for agricultural systems to become truly “climate-smart” a landscape approach is often required, and lays out the requirements for a sustainable integrated agricultural landscape approach. Click here for the full text.

Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative Partners Meet in Rome

Co-Organizers of the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative met at Bioversity International's headquarters in Maccarese, Italy on October 2 and 3 to discuss the achievements and work of the Initiative thus far and develop working group work plans for the Initiative's second year. The initiative is making progress on all six of its Action and Advocacy outcomes. For more on the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative, click here.

Landscapes Initiative Releases Action and Advocacy Update, Invites Collaboration

As a follow up to the most recent meeting of the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative co-organizers and strategic partners in Maccarese, Italy, the Initiative has released a progress report and work plan update. The document describes completed, ongoing and planned work towards each of the six outcomes committed to by Landscapes Initiative members, as of November 26th, as well as opportunities for collaboration in the coming year. Read the Action and Advocacy Update and Work Plan here.

Landscape Approach Gets Enthusiastic Reception at World Conservation Congress

At this year’s World Conservation Congress, held in Jeju, South Korea from 6-15 September, EcoAgriculture Partners’ program director Dr. Louise Buck co-organized a session, in concert with IUCN, on the role of landscape approaches in meeting both food security and conservation goals. Titled "Building a Global Coalition for Landscapes for People, Food, and Nature," the session featured a keynote address by pre-eminent sustainable development expert and IUCN fellow Dr. Jeffrey Sayer. Following Dr. Sayer’s remarks, two very lively panel discussions were moderated by Mark Smith, Director of the Global Water Programme at IUCN. Panelists discussed how whole landscape approaches have been used to achieve food security and conservation goals simultaneously, and brainstormed concepts for mainstreaming the landscape approach in food security policies, programs and initiatives. The 70-person-audience was invited to participate in the discussion by focusing on how to connect the landscape approach to the goals of the UN Secretary-General’s Zero Hunger Challenge.

Dr. Buck also gave a presentation during a session hosted by Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative co-organizer Conservation International and chaired by CI’s Vice President of Global Change and Ecosystem Services Celia Harvey that focused on farmers’ roles as landscape stewards. Dr. Buck presented her work, in collaboration with the World Food Programme, on a resilience framework for crafting projects and programs for smallholder farmers.

Many additional sessions featured integrated landscape approaches. For example, IUCN hosted highly productive workshops on moving from competition to collaboration between agriculture and conservation, "nature+food", and exploring the role of the private sector in landscape approaches to conservation and community stewardship, among others. Conservation International organized a workshop on including traditional knowledge in climate change adaptation strategies that supported the landscapes approach to multi-stakeholder involvement. And the Christensen Fund put on a session to focus on partnerships for conservation and food sovereignty, emphasizing multi-stakeholder landscape approaches. Landscapes related work was so important to the activity at WCC that it is impossible to recount all the significant discussions here. For our coverage of the big ideas at WCC, see the Landscapes Blog.

Among the formal work of the Congress, delegates overwhelmingly supported a motion of support for the Bonn Challenge on restoration of lost forests and degraded lands that was co-sponsored by EcoAgriculture Partners.

Work on Biodiversity Friendly Commodities Continues at Palm Oil Roundtable

WRI's Forest Cover Analyzer, funded by a BACP grant, is introduced to the full RSPO membership.
EcoAgriculture Partners' project manager Lee Gross presented a poster at the 10th Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) demonstrating the work of the Biodiversity in Agricultural Commodities Program (BACP), which is supported by the International Finance Corporation and the Global Environment Facility, with additional funding from the Governments of Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, and Luxembourg. RSPO formally endorsed the BACP-funded "Suitability Mapper" and "Forest Cover Analyzer" web applications created by World Resources Institute. See our blog post about the tools here. 

The importance of BACP work in the implementation and evaluation of the RSPO standard was also evident in the many new partnerships and expanded programs that emerged from the meeting. For instance, Proforest's Palm Oil Roadshow, a producer training and organizing program, will be expanded from West Africa into Latin America. These efforts are paying off. Certified-sustainable palm oil now makes up more than 14% of the global supply of the versatile raw material, which is used in products as diverse as ice cream, cooking oil, cosmetics, and biofuels.

Publication: "Assessing the Ecological Impacts of Agricultural Eco-Certification and Standards: A Global Review of the Science and Practice"

EcoAgriculture Partners and the International Finance Corporation released the new report, "Assessing the Ecological Impacts of Agricultural Eco-Certification and Standards: A Global Review of the Science and Practice." The report, prepared by EcoAgriculture's Lee Gross and Jeff Milder with Alexandra Class of IFC, reviews and assesses the science and practice of ecological impact assessment for agricultural eco-standards. Consultations with organizations involved in eco-standard setting and compliance, such as the Forest Stewardship Council, Nestle, Rainforest Alliance and the IFC provided data for the study.

UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and EcoAgriculture Partners Hold a Roundtable Discussion on Climate-Smart Finance

FAO and EcoAgriculture Partners facilitated a roundtable discussion on finance for climate-smart agriculture. Held at the FAO office in Washington, DC this past September, the meeting is part of the ongoing Roundtable series on Climate Change and Agriculture for local leaders in the Washington, DC area. Participants included individuals from the World Bank, US Department of Agriculture, Oxfam, National Wildlife Federation and others. The discussion began by reviewing proceedings and highlights from the Second Global Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change in Hanoi, Viet Nam, and then went on to highlight EcoAgriculture Partner’s recently released publication, "Coordinating Finance for Climate-Smart Agriculture." Seth Shames and Rachel Friedman of EcoAgriculture Partners presented findings from the paper, and founder Sara Scherr facilitated the thoughtful discussion that followed.

EcoAgriculture Partners accepted into UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)

On July 27th, at their substantive session, the Economic and Social Council granted EcoAgriculture Partners “special consultative status” as a Non-Governmental Organization. According to ECOSOC, “Consultative status for an organization enables it to actively engage with ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies, as well as with the United Nations Secretariat, programmes, funds and agencies” in many ways, including by serving as an official subject matter expert and by designating representatives as observers at ECOSOC meetings.

EcoAgriculture Partners Discusses Food Security and Climate Change at the Community Solutions Program Orientation

EcoAgriculture Partners’ project manager Lee Gross appeared on the Food Security and Climate Change panel at the Community Solutions Program orientation at Georgetown University recently. The Community Solutions Program, an extension of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the US Department of State and implemented by IREX, provides professional development to community leaders from around the world who are working within the areas of transparency and accountability, tolerance and conflict resolution, environmental issues, and women and gender issues. More than 50 Community Solutions fellows join the program each year. The Community Solutions Program provides these leaders with the appropriate networks, ideas and tools needed for successful sustainable development in their native countries.

Aid For Africa spotlights EcoAgriculture Partners as monthly member charity for August

This past August, Aid For Africa featured EcoAgriculture Partners as a member organization and highlighted our work in Africa. Barbara Rose, executive director of Aid for Africa, serves on the board of EcoAgriculture Partners, and has been a constant supporter of the organization through the Aid For Africa network and other venues. For more information about our partnership with Aid for Africa, as well as information regarding making a donation, please visit Aid for Africa’'s member charities page

In the Scene

Tropical Fruit Tree Species and Climate Change

This new publication, edited by Bhuwon Sthapit (Bioversity International), V. Ramanatha Rao (Ashoka Trust for Research and Education on Environment – ATREE), and Sajal Sthapit (Local Initiatives for Biodiversity, Research and Development – LI-BIRD), examines the current state of understanding regarding climate change and tropical fruit, and looks towards the future ability of those crops to cope or adapt to altered climatic conditions. Specific chapters of the book examine the significance of conserving genetic resources both ex-situ and in the field, to preserve the diversity necessary to temper the impacts of climatic shifts. Fruit trees are an integral component of a climate-smart landscape, conferring resilience and mitigating some of the impacts of climate change. Sara Scherr of EcoAgriculture co-wrote both the introductory chapter and the final chapter on opportunities for adaptation and mitigation. Other writers include Andy Jarvis and Julian Ramirez-Villegas of CIAT and CCAFS within the CGIAR, B.M.C Reddy and M.R. Dinesh with the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, Bioversity International’s Prem Narain Mathur, and Shailendra Rajan at the Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture in Lucknow. Get the full document here, or read a detailed preview on the Landscapes Blog.

Convention on Biological Diversity COP11 Discusses Landscape Approach for National Biodiversity Strategies 2.0

The Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative (LPFN) was represented at COP 11 of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) by Bioversity International and many other partners. While COP 11 addressed biodiversity issues across virtually every conceivable sector, a key theme was mainstreaming the landscape approach, and its requirement to engage multiple sectors, into the development of second generation National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs), the mechanisms by which countries implement activity to achieve conservation goals. See our coverage of CBD on the Landscapes Blog for more.

The Global Conference on Agriculture, Food Security, and Climate Change in Hanoi Highlights Landscape Approach

The Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative was well represented at the conference September 3-7 in Vietnam. Tony Simons, Director General of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), a co-organizer of the Initiative, gave a keynote address on landscape approaches and climate-smart agriculture. He discussed some of the tradeoffs and synergies, as well as knowledge gaps and future research needs. Throughout the conference, other presenters honed in on the importance of landscape approaches. Ralph Ashton, Director of the Australian Futures Project, cited evidence of numerous landscape projects and programs with climate benefits supported by Initiative partners. For our full report on the Hanoi meeting, see our blog coverage here.

Landscapes Approach Key to Seminar on "Carbon-Focused" Planet

On October 26, SIANI, Focali and Naturskyddsföreningen co-hosted an international seminar titled Landscapes in a Carbon Focused World at the Conference Center Wallenberg in Gothenburg, Sweden. The seminar adopted a landscape view to discussing sustainability, resilience, improved agriculture and climate change, and emphasized a landscape focus as a tool to enhance research and policy activities both in theory and on the ground. Sessions included discussions on carbon sequestration, biodiversity, climate change and smallholder farmers, and addressed social issues as they relate to landscapes throughout the developing world.


Indigenous Peoples and the Green Climate Fund: A Technical Briefing for Indigenous Peoples, Policymakers and Support Groups

The Forest Peoples Programme along with the Indigenous People’s Network of Malaysia recently released this report outlining indigenous peoples’ participation in governance of climate change, as well as access to financing for climate change. 

   - http://www.forestpeoples.org/sites/fpp/files/publication/2012/08/indigenous-peoples-and-green-climate-fund-230812-finalpdf_0.pdf

Farming Matters September Issue on Farmers' Organizations

The September issue of Farming Matters magazine, published by ILEIA, the Centre for Learning on Sustainable Agriculture, focuses on farmers’ organizations, and pays close attention to the challenges and opportunities of organizing that farmers face around the world. 

   - http://www.agriculturesnetwork.org/farmingmatters

Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security

The Food and Agriculture Organization recently released these Voluntary Guidelines to help improve the governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests. The guidelines were negotiated by international stakeholders through the Committee on World Food Security. 

   - http://www.fao.org/docrep/016/i2801e/i2801e.pdf

The 2050 Criteria Guide to Responsible Investment in Agricultural, Forest and Seafood Commodities

Joshua Levin and Martha Stevenson of The World Wildlife Fund produced this report, providing a summary of the framework and best practices for mainstream financial actors to promote the global sustainability of finite natural resources found around the globe, especially in developing countries.

   - http://awsassets.panda.org/downloads/the_2050_critera_report.pdf

Short Film: Scaling Up Conservation Agriculture in Zambia

The World Bank Institute released this short film outlining techniques for climate smart agriculture production in resource rich areas such as Zambia. The film presents leading research in the field and provides on the ground examples of climate smart agriculture techniques that have helped to increase crop production, build up climate resilience and improve carbon sequestration.

   - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DB4Mbota8PA

Making Rangelands Secure in East and Horn of Africa

This new bulletin from Landportal.info, an online platform for sharing landscape management information, features an article titled "Can Village Land Use Planning Work for Rangelands?" that is directly pertinent to landscape approaches in East Africa.

   - http://landportal.info/sites/default/files/bulletinrangelands07_12.pdf

Contested Agronomy: Agricultural Research in a Changing World

This new book by James Sumberg and John Thompson was published by the STEPS Centre as part of their “Pathways to Sustainability” book series. The book explores the ever-changing challenges to sustainable agriculture development, and uses case studies to dive into agronomy research both past and present. Taking a look at the political aspects of agroecology, the book synthesizes multiple cases that support conservation agriculture from different perspectives including African small holders and larger international organizations like CGIAR. 

   - http://searchworks.stanford.edu/view/9632768

The Power of Local Action: Lessons from 10 Years of the Equator Prize

The Equator Initiative released this landmark book at the Eleventh Conference to the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP11) in Hyderabad, India. The book draws conclusions from extensive case studies, and synthesizes the work led by the Initiative over the past decade.

   - http://equatorinitiative.org/images/stories/events/2012events/Book_Launch/The_Power_of_Local_Action_--_Lessons_from_10_Years_of_the_Equator_Prize.pdf


Call for Papers, Partners, and Proposals

Ecological Society of America 98th Annual Meeting – Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, 4-9 August, 2013

The deadline to submit proposals for Ignite ESA Sessions Workshops, Special Sessions and Field Trips is 5:00PM Eastern (US) Standard Time, 29 November 2012. Click here for more information.

Upcoming Events

UN Framework Convention on Climate Change COP 18 – Doha, Qatar, 26 November - 7 December 2012

More information about EcoAgriculture Partners’ and the Landscape Initiative's activities at UNFCCC COP 18 in Doha will be available on the Landscapes blog, and by following us on Twitter @EcoAgPartners.

Agriculture, Landscapes and Livelihoods Day 5 – Doha, Qatar, 3 December 2012

This special all day side event concurrent with the UNFCCC COP18 will focus on solutions for climate change mitigation and adaptation in agricultural landscapes. If you are attending COP18, register now for ALL5 Day (it's free!) and please contact rfriedman@ecoagriculture.org for more information about how to be involved in ALL5 Day and the landscapes work throughout the conference.

Climate-Smart Agriculture Global Science Conference - Davis, California, USA, 20-22 March 2013

The 2013 Conference builds on the 2011 Wageningen conference agreement with an explicit focus on three main themes: farm and food systems, landscape and regional issues, and the integrative and transformative institutional and policy aspects that will bridge across scales and create the right environment for adoption of CSA practices. For more information, and to register, click here.

Sustainable Food Lab Summit – Chesapeake Bay, Annapolis, Maryland, USA, 9-11 April 2013, with “Learning Journeys” on 8-9 April 2013

Save the date for this meeting focusing on operationalizing sustainability throughout supply chains. The Chesapeake Bay location provides an opportunity to look at fisheries management and sustainable agriculture, and review decades of work to improve water quality. The Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative will also be launching a new report on business engagement in landscape management. For more, click here.

International Conference on Forests for Food Security and Nutrition – FAO, Rome, Italy, 13-15 May 2013

This summit, hosted by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization, will emphasize broad-based interdisciplinary approaches to forest management. For more information, click here.

6th Annual International Ecosystem Services Partnership Conference – Bali, Indonesia, 27-31 August 2013

The 6th International ESP conference will focus on the practical application of the ecosystem services concept in planning, management and decision making, and the development of case studies. For more information, click here.

Joint FAO/WHO International Conference on Nutrition Twenty-One Years Later (ICN+21) – FAO, Rome, Italy, 13-15 November 2013

Still early stages of planning for this important follow up conference to the first ICN in 1992. See the concept note here.
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.