The JRS Biodiversity Foundation is pleased to announce Matthew Cassetta as its new Executive Director. Cassetta brings over two decades of diverse experience in international diplomacy and project management, much of it focused in Africa on capacity-building and development partnerships.
Conclusions from the FAO-EcoAgriculture Landscapes RoundTable: Insights on the African Landscapes Action Plan, Phase 3 – Ecoagriculture
25 June 2020 – FAO North America and EcoAgriculture Partners hosted a virtual Landscape Roundtable on the African Landscape Action Plan (ALAP): Phase 3, which lays out a strategy for achieving sustainable development in Africa through integrated landscape management (ILM).
The Roundtable panelists included seven African landscape leaders (click here for their short biographies) of the November 2019 African Landscape Dialogue in Arusha, Tanzania. They provided insights on recent progress and the recommendations for action developed during the Dialogue, around landscape partnerships and governance, achieving biodiversity conservation and climate-smart agriculture (CSA) through ILM, business and finance, land use planning, and national policy.
The Landscape Roundtable is part of an on-going series of discussions focusing on agriculture, landscapes and climate change jointly organized by EcoAgriculture Partners and FAO North America since 2009. While the roundtable takes place in Washington, DC, this webinar engaged a global audience and included a dynamic Q&A session with participants, as well as an interactive ‘chat’.
A plan within the context of African development
Vimlendra Sharan, Director of the FAO Office in North America opened the session, placing the discussion in the context of African economic development, food security and environment, and the challenges of the COVID pandemic. “The plan itself is a blueprint for sustainable rural development in direct response to the challenges of climate change and rapid population growth on a continent where two-thirds of the workforce is engaged in agriculture.” He further added, “We must understand that only broad coalitions, active partnerships and dedicated investments will ensure that this agenda is achieved.”
Sara Scherr, President and CEO of EcoAgriculture Partners, moderated the discussion. Her opening comments provided the history of the ALAP explaining, “in 2014 several hundred landscape leaders from all across Africa came together in Nairobi, Kenya to reflect on how it would be possible to achieve goals in their landscapes through smart collective action.” The event in Nairobi produced the initial African Landscape Action Plan, which was later formally endorsed by the African Union. The second Dialogue in 2017 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia produced and updated ALAP Phase 2. ALAP Phase 3 represents the most recent and up to date collaboration of African landscape leaders and practitioners promoting sustainable development through integrated landscape management.
Five key recommendations
Louise Buck, Director of Collaborative Management at EcoAgriculture Partners and faculty member of Cornell University, presented five key recommendations proposed in ALAP Phase 3 to (1) strengthen landscape partnership and governance, (2) adapt land use planning and property rights to strengthen landscape action, (3) mainstream biodiversity conservation and climate-smart agriculture through integrated landscape management, (4) mobilize business and finance in support of sustainable landscapes and (5) advance national policy for sustainable landscapes.
Input from the panelist and country-specific examples
The seven panelists represented a broad coalition of actors in different sectors, geographies and specializations focused on collaborating with each other and other actors to promote ILM in Africa. In addition to highlighting specific elements of the ALAP-3, they provided specific examples from their countries.
John Recha of the CGIAR research program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) discussed the powerful role of African landscape initiatives in advancing CSA and climate-smart landscapes. Recha emphasized that CSA is not a “one size fits all” approach and that “Partnerships are key to taking climate-smart agriculture to scale within Africa to be able to address perennial food insecurity as well as low productivity.” As an example of this, Recha described the implementation of a “Climate Smart Village” program where participatory methods and technologies are used to explicitly scale up CSA and influence policymakers.
John Ajjugo, of the Horn of Africa Regional Environment Centre and Network, provided insight into how biodiversity activities in African landscape initiatives need to be viewed in a more integrated way. Integrated land-use plans, for instance, take into consideration the ideas of communities who depend on land for agricultural activities while balancing the needs of protected areas for biodiversity conservation. Ajjungo discussed how this topic extends beyond rural areas as the importance of biodiversity in urban areas is increasingly recognized through, for example, urban tree planting and botanical garden development programs.
Focusing on the themes of business and finance were Nancy Rapondo of Solidaridad and Mao Amis of the African Centre for a Green Economy. Rapondo discussed the importance of businesses being more actively engaged in landscape initiatives so that they are “asking themselves, if there is a change in the landscape or if the landscape has been transformed, then how have they [the business] contributed to that and how can that be attributed to the work that they are doing.” She further emphasized that “as practitioners, it is important that we support businesses to go through this level of thinking.” To demonstrate this, Rapondo described the work Solidaridad is doing in the Mt. Kilimanjaro area of Tanzania to form a multi-stakeholder platform in which investors and the business community have had an active and engaged role in.
Amis highlighted the significant progress that has been recently been made in landscape finance, citing funds that have specifically been made for landscape-scale investments. Challenges still remain in that there is a bias towards large-scale commercial operators “so small scale farmers are not seeing investments trickling down to them,” as Amis points out. Additionally, there is a challenge of building bankable business models around themes like restoration while also mitigating and sharing risk.
Closely intersecting all of these themes but often not adequately considered, is youth and gender inclusivity as discussed by Njeri Kimotho of Solidaridad. Kimotho recognized the basic elements of power relations in governance systems as “power over rather than power with” and that to overcome this “we need to look for solutions that are targeted to take everybody along and not to come to the table with a hidden agenda but really make it explicit that it is a journey for everybody.” In the context of African landscapes, this is especially relevant for issues surrounding land tenure and property rights.
Lastly was Mponda Malozo of the FAO Office in Tanzania, and Luc Gnacadja, the former UN Assistant Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the UNCCD, who provided their insights on policy in relation to African landscapes. Malozo discussed how landscape approaches are increasingly being used to meet the overarching goal of FAO to achieve actual food security for all and to support the realization of the right to adequate food. He highlighted the work of FAO supporting the Government of Tanzania in innovative land-use planning systems that support ILM.
Wildlife: during the month of March, the UICN publicly announced two decisions concerning forest elephants. The first one was declaring the forest elephant (Loxodonta Cyclotis) an altogether different species, as until recently it was merely considered a subspecies. The second decision was declaring this species critically endangered.
To benefit people, biodiversity and the climate, EU development programmes must heed local voices – Fern
The EU is the world’s largest aid donor and a major political actor with a strong influence over global policies. The EU recognises civil society as an essential actor in policy making and implementation, specifically in the development sector.
To read: The German CBFP Facilitation and COMIFAC are preparing for the 2021 Climate and Biodiversity Conferences of the Parties; Report on landmark deforestation events in 2019; The 2021-2025 Operational Plan of COMIFAC Convergence Plan validated...
March 2021 Highlights: Rescued 1 Black-bellied pangolin; Released 1 Black-bellied pangolin back into the wild; Released 19 African grey parrots into the wild; Finished maintenance of Gorilla group 1 night den; Completed phase 1 of the Gorilla re-enrichment project…
Read: Position of European Partners on SIGIF 2 in Cameroon; Only few days left to register for the webinars "The Role of Forest Certification in the EUTR"; ATIBT technical data sheet : quality of plantation species for timber use; "Choosing tropical woods to fight climate change" says Timber Trade Federation...
Forest Watch The latest forest news April 2021: Discarding a decade of effort developing FLEGT licenses or ignoring key land rights in EC proposals to fight deforestation won't keep forests standing
Read: FLEGT ‘Fitness Check’: Abandoning FLEGT licenses would harm forest governance and the legal timber trade; EU Law on deforestation: Key land rights risk being ignored in DG Environment’s proposal; Could the palm oil arrangement between Indonesia and Switzerland offer lessons for EU and Indonesia free trade agreement negotiations?
The co-facilitators for the negotiated outcome of the 2021 UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development have issued an outline for consideration. The proposed structure includes sections on: the impact of COVID-19 on the 2030 Agenda; progress towards the SDGs under review in 2021; and accelerated actions to achieve the SDGs.
The International Renewable Energy (IRENA) has published a preview of its publication, ‘World Energy Transitions Outlook.’ The report reviews technology choices, investment needs, and socio-economic contexts necessary to set the world on a trajectory towards a sustainable, resilient and inclusive energy future.
The German CBFP Facilitation and COMIFAC are preparing for the 2021 Climate and Biodiversity Conferences of the Parties
From 9 to 13 March the COMIFAC Working Group meetings of the Central African Climate and Biodiversity Negotiators took place in Douala, Cameroon. These two meetings were held at the same time and place, with financial support provided by the German cooperation.
This publication adds to ongoing work by the World Bank Group on how to better design and incorporate fiscal policy within the climate and sustainable development policy mix. The publication shows how various fiscal reforms can positively influence forest conservation while freeing up resources that can be used for national development.
Environmental issues affect us all. As is it, the planet is moving towards a global warming of 3°C by 2100. This is not the future we want. Forests, our first carbon sink within submerged land, are however in critical danger, with the possible savannahisation of the Amazon and tropical forests that could eventually turn into proper CO2 emitters. Faced with these projections, that involve unimaginable socio-economic consequences, our absolute priority can be summed up in a single word: reduction. Reducing our carbon footprint. Reducing deforestation. Reducing the degradation of forests. Reducing them increasingly and continuously.
The world is facing unprecedented economic and environmental challenges. While climate change increasingly poses risks to macroeconomic and fiscal stability, deforestation and forest degradation impair the ability of forests to act as carbon sinks and reduce the resiliency of local communities to climate damages. The loss and decay of forests also threaten global biodiversity, the provision of ecosystem services, and other core ecological functions that economies worldwide rely on.
Fern’s report Beyond commitments: How can Nationally Determined Contributions contribute to forest governance and resilient local communities? looks at progress, challenges, and opportunities in six African countries: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Liberia, and Republic of the Congo.
The undeniable connection between nature, human health, and economic well-being has become more evident than ever during this time of crisis. Resilience is in our nature: IUCN and its Members are working to ensure a nature-based recovery that can deliver sustainable solutions, providing a foundation for a healthier relationship between humanity and the planet.
As indicated on the Fordaq website, Hans Fahrni, CEO of FACO Construction, is pleased with the effects of the log export ban on the timber industry in Gabon, where the majority of the forest area is FSC-certified (the government's goal is to certify all of them within 4 years).
The ATIBT and the Malaysian Timber Council (MTC) have recently held several online meetings to clarify their common issues for the development of a responsible tropical timber sector. These meetings have been preceded in recent years by annual meetings.
REN21’s Renewables in Cities Global Status Report (REC) series provides an overview of the status, trends and developments of renewable energy in cities, using the most up-to-date information and data available. The REC’s neutral, fact-based approach documents in detail the annual developments in policies, markets, investments and citizen action, with a particular focus on renewables in public, residential and commercial buildings as well as public and private urban transport. This report aims to inform decision makers and to create an active exchange of views and information around urban renewable energy.
The price of deforestation and degradation is enormous, said Robert Nasi, director general of CIFOR and managing director of CIFOR-ICRAF, speaking at the Global Forest Summit.
The crisis provoked by the coronavirus pandemic offers a chance to shift from a fossil-fuel based economy to a nature-based circular bioeconomy, said Britain’s heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles on Friday.
The UK and Norway launched an initiative on sustainable finance that will serve as a platform for British and Norwegian financial institutions to share knowledge and best practices focused on actionable climate solutions in the financial sector and explore the regulatory frameworks and investment decisions that would be necessary to achieve a zero-emissions economy.
The post-2020 global biodiversity framework (GBF) took center stage at the informal meeting in preparation for the third meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI-3), convened by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
UN-Water convened a three-day event to discuss accelerating progress towards water and sanitation for all by 2030, and a report that indicates ambitions for 2030 remain off-track. Participants were briefed on the SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework, upcoming high-level events on water, and the preparatory process for the 2023 UN conference for the midterm review of the Water Action Decade.
The pandemic has tragically claimed millions of lives and placed countries in complete economic and social lockdown, with the threat of a global recession looming. But the pandemic is not just an immediate human health crisis; it also poses a long-term socio-economic ramifications for people who depend on natural resources such as timber, fisheries and wildlife.
This Sunday, 21 March, is the United Nations International Day of Forests (IDF), intended to celebrate and raise global awareness of the importance of forests. The theme is "Forest restoration: a path to recovery and well-being", a cause that Fern championed in our recent report looking at how rights-based forest restoration can empower communities, recover biodiversity, and tackle the climate crisis. It also explained that forest restoration must never be used to greenwash other sectors' lack of action towards climate objectives.
The Green Climate Fund (GCF) and its partners have signed implementation agreements for two new climate finance projects only hours after they were approved by the GCF Board.
Elon Musk tweeted earlier this year that he would be "donating $100 million towards a prize for best carbon capture technology”. Out of 600 thousand likes and retweets, twenty thousand corresponded to a brilliant solution: “A tree”. The Tesla boss responded that trees were, indeed, part of the solution, but that we may require something that is “ultra-large-scale industrial in 10 to 20 years”. The sense of acting ‘urgently’ and at ‘scale’ are clearly central to the concepts of innovations announced in his offer.
19. February 2020 | In the past, Germany has been among the more ambitious providers of financial assistance to developing countries’ efforts to adapt to a changing climate and cut or avoid greenhouse gas emissions.
The findings and recommendations in this Toolkit were identified based on a meta-review of program evaluations and scholarly research in French and English, supplemented by a series of key informant interviews with program implementers. The Toolkit was validated through review by an Advisory Council of external civil society practitioners and researchers as well as practitioners from Search for Common Ground’s field offices across the Sudano-Sahel (Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Nigeria, Niger, South Sudan, Sudan).
Not Too Late to Undo Forest Damage, Secretary-General Says, in Message for International Day, while Warning ‘We Risk a Point of No Return - UN
Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for the International Day of Forests, observed on 21 March: Humanity’s well-being is inextricably linked to the health of our planet. Forests play a crucial role.
February saw the 13th session of our Advisory Board meeting, held in Brazzaville, where our workplan and budget for 2021 were finalised and approved. This year will see a whole host of developments from the park - from new construction, including schools, markets and clean-water pumps, to new projects, such as the Makao community pharmacy, due to be launched in March 2021. We here at the park look forward to getting stuck into these challenges.
28 Green Climate Fund Board meeting approves 15 new projects, USD 1.2 billion for climate action: The Congo Basin named among the beneficiaries which include the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of Congo, and the Central African Republic
The following projects are relevant to the Congo Basin: (1)USD 29 million for PREFOREST CONGO - Project aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from forests in five departments in the Republic of Congo with the FAO (FP159) – (2) USD 280 million for Sustainable Renewables Risk Mitigation Initiative (SRMI) Facility with World Bank in Botswana, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Mali, Namibia, Uzbekistan (FP163) – (3) - USD 82.8 million for The Africa Integrated Climate Risk Management Programme: Building resilience of smallholder farmers to climate change impacts in 7 Sahelian Countries of the Great Green Wall (GGW) with IFAD in Burkina Faso, Chad, Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal (FP162).
large numbers of elephants, chimpanzees and gorillas, as well as numerous other species and habitats. The area covers some 178,000 square kilometres, 97 percent of which is forest, making it a large and productive carbon sink. Illegal logging, large-scale mining, poaching, and forest conversion for commodity crops has made the area vulnerable and is threatening its ecosystem. A comprehensive effort is underway to combat wildlife crime, designate protected areas and institute sustainable forest management. The World Bank Carbon Fund has earmarked $280 million in climate finance to reduce forest emissions in the area.
The African Adaptation Initiative and GCA consolidated their partnership with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to support African leadership to accelerate climate change adaptation across the continent.
RFUK supports civil society call for the immediate cancellation of three million hectares of illegal logging concessions in DRC
RFUK, Greenpeace and Congolese civil society groups are calling on the DRC Government to revoke three million hectares of illegal logging concessions or risk wrecking its image on the international climate stage.