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  • Reversing ‘dangerous decline’ of nature requires global initiatives to engage both men and women

Reversing ‘dangerous decline’ of nature requires global initiatives to engage both men and women

A woman works in the fields in the village of Nalma, Nepal. Photo by M. Edliadi/CIFOR
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FTA communications

A woman carries food for her family in Nalma village, Nepal. Photo by M. Edliadi/CIFOR

Our planet is in the midst of an ecological emergency, according to several recent reports. Deteriorating biodiversity is putting food security, economies as well as human health and well-being at risk.

Reversing this ecological decline requires restoration initiatives to incorporate the needs, interests and knowledge of both men and women.

This month, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) released a global assessment finding that the health of ecosystems is deteriorating more rapidly than ever.

This is happening despite the efforts of several global restoration initiatives. Scientists say that such alliances would be more successful if they were more equitable.

“Not accounting for gender in restoration is equal to ignoring 50 percent of the population,” said Iliana Monterroso Ibarra, co-coordinator of gender and social inclusion research at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). “On the other hand, restoration processes that include both women and men can learn and benefit from their different knowledge and practices, making the process more efficient.”

Monterroso and other experts from the CGIAR Research Program on Forest, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) shared research on the value of gender-responsive restoration work during a recent workshop organized by UN-Women and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The workshop set out to gather input for a new, gender-responsive Global Biodiversity Framework, which is to guide the countries adhering to the Convention on Biological Diversity once the current Aichi targets lapse in 2020.

According to Tanya McGregor, gender program officer at the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, there is substantial interest in, and engagement on, addressing gender issues among country parties and stakeholders involved in implementing the convention.

“We still need to build capacity and clarify what types of objectives and actions may be most appropriate to advance gender-responsive approaches to biodiversity conservation and sustainable use in the context of the new framework,” she said.

Read also: Gender equality in agricultural development starts with understanding complexity

Gender lessons from REDD+

FTA has long-standing experience with research on incorporating gender dimensions into forest landscape restoration. The program’s research has shown that reaching desired social and environmental outcomes from ecosystem restoration hinges on the contribution and cooperation of the women and men who depend on these ecosystems for their livelihoods.

A woman in the village of Nalma, Lamjung, Nepal. Photo by M. Edliadi/CIFOR

After more than 15 years of implementation, the REDD+ initiative in particular can provide important clues, according to scientists. Although REDD+ is primarily a mechanism for reducing carbon emissions from forests, it does offer lessons on what implications such a long-term, on-the-ground effort has for gender equality and women’s empowerment.

“The first lesson to highlight is the need to account for different interests, needs, values and behavior of both men and women around land and resources. For example, we have learned that so-called gender-neutral initiatives – really meaning initiatives that ignore the issue – risk perpetuating social differences and creating inequities,” Monterroso said.

Also, excluding either men or women will influence their willingness to participate over time, risking not only opportunities to strengthen their livelihoods, but also the potential for sustainable restoration.

The second lesson is related to putting in place the right safeguards to increase the chances for successful implementation of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. Such measures include understanding whether women and men have secure rights to the land being restored, making sure that restoration work does not rely disproportionately on women’s labor, and finally recognizing existing governance structures that determine how men and women participate in decision-making processes.

“Ensuring the participation of all kinds of groups allows for an implementation that provides more benefits on the ground, not accumulating only for some,” Monterroso said.

Read also: The Gender Equality in Research Scale: A tool for monitoring and encouraging progress on gender integration in research for and in development

Starting points for biodiversity conservation

Understanding and acknowledging the importance of gender-responsive restoration work is only the first step. Second comes the question of how to make these insights operational for the countries tasked with implementing the post-2020 framework.

A Lubuk Beringin villager harvests palm nut on her agroforestry farm in Indonesia. Photo by T. Saputro/CIFOR

“We have to be very careful – not only in the design, but also in the implementation – to understand where gender considerations are important,” said Monterroso.

She explained that REDD+ experiences show that sometimes, communities and customary practices are actually highly equitable, but it is during the implementation of restoration initiatives that implementing institutions – particularly governments – can introduce inequities. Therefore, building the capacity of government officials is important, as is ensuring that they have the right tools to incorporate gender-responsive methods.

Relatedly, operationalization of the post-2020 framework is underpinned by selecting the right indicators. They need to be designed to capture data that shows the different roles and contributions women and men have in the process toward meeting the targets, she explained.

“It is not enough to count how many men and women participate in projects – we need to better understand issues such as unequal access to and control over land and productive resources as well as decision making, not only to be able to assess progress across different dimensions of gender equality but also as part of the moral imperative to leave no one behind” she said.

Finally, governance structures that implement the framework must themselves have gender equitable and inclusive processes. Monterroso: “To dream big, as they say, we need to make sure that these institutions are 50 percent women and are allocating leadership positions to women.”

An inclusive process

The FTA team noted that the recent workshop represents the kind of inclusive, multi-stakeholder process necessary to ensure that appropriate gender lessons can be identified, discussed and included going forward. Governments, multilateral and international organizations, research institutions as well as indigenous and women organizations were active in the workshop dialogue, bringing forth the right evidence and underscoring their commitment.

“The importance of including gender considerations is about more than whether the targets will be met – it’s making sure that we’re making the changes that these broader conventions, like the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Sustainable Development Goals, are calling upon us to promote – to achieve more equitable development that involves everyone in the process.”

By Marianne Gadeberg, communications specialist.


This work is part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA). FTA is the world’s largest research for development program to enhance the role of forests, trees and agroforestry in sustainable development and food security and to address climate change. CIFOR leads FTA in partnership with Bioversity International, CATIE, CIRAD, INBAR, ICRAF and TBI. FTA’s work is supported by the CGIAR Trust Fund.

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  • Financial innovations could pave way for the New Deal for Nature

Financial innovations could pave way for the New Deal for Nature

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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

Diverse crops grow in a field as part of on-farm conservation project, Ecuador. Photo by M.Bellon/Bioversity International

The CBD estimates up to US$440 billion is needed annually to meet commitments in the post-2020 UN Biodiversity Framework, yet the current annual spend budget is only US$52 billion. How do we fill this huge financial shortfall? 

Biodiversity loss has become one of the most pressing environmental challenges. We seem to have reached a point of no return, after having wiped out 60 percent of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles since the 1970s and half of the plants since the dawn of civilization.

Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Cristiana Pasça Palmer, said just prior to the Fourteenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP14) , which recently took place in Egypt, we might only have two years left to set firm commitments for action on biodiversity loss if humanity is not to be “the first species to document its own extinction”.

CBD COP14 kicked off the processes that will lead to adopting a post-2020 global biodiversity framework and update to the CBD’s Strategic Plan for Biodiversity. The New Deal for Nature  is expected to be adopted during the fifteenth meeting in Beijing in 2020. The framework is regarded as a last call to address the underlying challenges of biodiversity and ecosystem loss. It represents an opportunity for decision-makers to join urgent efforts to transform approaches to use, safeguard, restore and invest in biodiversity.

Biodiversity losses profoundly affect agricultural productivity, food and other production-system resilience and dietary nutritional quality with negative consequences for producers, whose businesses can be profoundly affected by the poor quantity and quality of their yield. Instead, optimising and preserving agrobiodiversity represent nature-based solutions to address these challenges and translate into more reliable sourcing and stable production systems while also enhancing the nutrition of agricultural products and the sustainability of the farmers. We need a drastic change in consumers’ behaviour as well as serious government commitments to create an enabling environment and establish incentives for the many actors involved in the protection and management of ecosystems worldwide.

There is no doubt that the post-2020 framework will set new and ambitious targets to protect wild biodiversity such as insects, birds, plants and mammals that are vital for global food production, clean water, carbon sequestration and more besides. However, there are multiple aspects that are critical for the success in the implementation of the framework. In fact, success in achieving the new targets might fall short if proper agreed financing mechanisms are not put in place. The CBD estimates an annual global biodiversity financing need of between US$150–440 billion, while only 52 billion is spent annually on biodiversity management leaving a huge financing gap.

Wild biodiversity provides essential services for food production. Photo by L. Sebastian/Bioversity International

Decision-makers should learn from the challenges facing the Sustainable Development Goals to mobilize funding. The topic was prominent and reflected in the COP14 focus theme ‘Investing in Biodiversity for People and Planet’. Since the financial sector has been recognized as a key actor in sustainable development, through investments that combine financial returns and positive social and environmental impacts, new innovative forms of financing have (re-) emerged, such as Impact Investing, under the heading of sustainable finance in order to raise capital for sustainable development and biodiversity conservation. Impact Investing is not new to sector experts, as it mainly refers to financing mechanisms that would allow unlocking significant private investment capital to complement public resources and philanthropy to address pressing global challenges.

The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) defines Impact Investing as “investments made with the intention to generate positive, measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return,” even though the definition has not yet been globally agreed, the predominant approach focuses on two minimum requirements: a viable financial return and a significant measurable non-financial impact. Still, common metrics measuring both financial performance and social impact easy for companies to measure and meaningful to investors are still lacking in many fields and leaving investments’ results subject to “impact-washing” or “green-washing” risks.

For this reason, researchers are increasingly delivering metrics to compute the impact achieved through capital invested in project or companies and to quantify the value of risks managed and costs avoided through biodiversity enhancement. Such metrics, like the Agrobiodiversity Index developed by Bioversity International, will help governments, companies and investors to assess risks and seize opportunities in food and agriculture by looking at the status of agrobiodiversity in a selected area, and assess whether their actions and commitments are contributing or not to its sustainable use.

In recent years organizations and initiatives working on solutions to combat climate change or biodiversity loss have proliferated, but with little effort to coordinate them, so the effort remains fragmented, with little impact on the ground. Indeed, all of this has not yet resulted in a major shift in finance flows toward biodiversity management. The private sector must play a more coordinated role in order to maximize its impact and ensure an effective response to society’s needs and expectations, and to help rebuild confidence in the farming and agriculture sectors. Businesses and the financial sector must align their roles with those of other actors, and the CBD needs to set key principles for investors and entry points for businesses to take action.

The expectation for the coming two years is that targets of the post-2020 framework that will be agreed and adopted are underpinned by a worldwide political will to move beyond short-termism, market interest or political support, towards longer-term results. This should create a conducive environment among companies and the financial sector and hence support a system that invests in biodiversity rather than destroying it.

By Gianpiero Menza and Isabella Pochini, originally published by Bioversity International.


For more information, contact Gianpiero Menza, Private Sector Engagement Coordinator at Bioversity International.

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  • Financial innovations could pave way for the New Deal for Nature

Financial innovations could pave way for the New Deal for Nature

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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

Diverse crops grow in a field as part of on-farm conservation project, Ecuador. Photo by M.Bellon/Bioversity International

The CBD estimates up to US$440 billion is needed annually to meet commitments in the post-2020 UN Biodiversity Framework, yet the current annual spend budget is only US$52 billion. How do we fill this huge financial shortfall? 

Biodiversity loss has become one of the most pressing environmental challenges. We seem to have reached a point of no return, after having wiped out 60 percent of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles since the 1970s and half of the plants since the dawn of civilization.

Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Cristiana Pasça Palmer, said just prior to the Fourteenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP14) , which recently took place in Egypt, we might only have two years left to set firm commitments for action on biodiversity loss if humanity is not to be “the first species to document its own extinction”.

CBD COP14 kicked off the processes that will lead to adopting a post-2020 global biodiversity framework and update to the CBD’s Strategic Plan for Biodiversity. The New Deal for Nature  is expected to be adopted during the fifteenth meeting in Beijing in 2020. The framework is regarded as a last call to address the underlying challenges of biodiversity and ecosystem loss. It represents an opportunity for decision-makers to join urgent efforts to transform approaches to use, safeguard, restore and invest in biodiversity.

Biodiversity losses profoundly affect agricultural productivity, food and other production-system resilience and dietary nutritional quality with negative consequences for producers, whose businesses can be profoundly affected by the poor quantity and quality of their yield. Instead, optimising and preserving agrobiodiversity represent nature-based solutions to address these challenges and translate into more reliable sourcing and stable production systems while also enhancing the nutrition of agricultural products and the sustainability of the farmers. We need a drastic change in consumers’ behaviour as well as serious government commitments to create an enabling environment and establish incentives for the many actors involved in the protection and management of ecosystems worldwide.

There is no doubt that the post-2020 framework will set new and ambitious targets to protect wild biodiversity such as insects, birds, plants and mammals that are vital for global food production, clean water, carbon sequestration and more besides. However, there are multiple aspects that are critical for the success in the implementation of the framework. In fact, success in achieving the new targets might fall short if proper agreed financing mechanisms are not put in place. The CBD estimates an annual global biodiversity financing need of between US$150–440 billion, while only 52 billion is spent annually on biodiversity management leaving a huge financing gap.

Wild biodiversity provides essential services for food production. Photo by L. Sebastian/Bioversity International

Decision-makers should learn from the challenges facing the Sustainable Development Goals to mobilize funding. The topic was prominent and reflected in the COP14 focus theme ‘Investing in Biodiversity for People and Planet’. Since the financial sector has been recognized as a key actor in sustainable development, through investments that combine financial returns and positive social and environmental impacts, new innovative forms of financing have (re-) emerged, such as Impact Investing, under the heading of sustainable finance in order to raise capital for sustainable development and biodiversity conservation. Impact Investing is not new to sector experts, as it mainly refers to financing mechanisms that would allow unlocking significant private investment capital to complement public resources and philanthropy to address pressing global challenges.

The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) defines Impact Investing as “investments made with the intention to generate positive, measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return,” even though the definition has not yet been globally agreed, the predominant approach focuses on two minimum requirements: a viable financial return and a significant measurable non-financial impact. Still, common metrics measuring both financial performance and social impact easy for companies to measure and meaningful to investors are still lacking in many fields and leaving investments’ results subject to “impact-washing” or “green-washing” risks.

For this reason, researchers are increasingly delivering metrics to compute the impact achieved through capital invested in project or companies and to quantify the value of risks managed and costs avoided through biodiversity enhancement. Such metrics, like the Agrobiodiversity Index developed by Bioversity International, will help governments, companies and investors to assess risks and seize opportunities in food and agriculture by looking at the status of agrobiodiversity in a selected area, and assess whether their actions and commitments are contributing or not to its sustainable use.

In recent years organizations and initiatives working on solutions to combat climate change or biodiversity loss have proliferated, but with little effort to coordinate them, so the effort remains fragmented, with little impact on the ground. Indeed, all of this has not yet resulted in a major shift in finance flows toward biodiversity management. The private sector must play a more coordinated role in order to maximize its impact and ensure an effective response to society’s needs and expectations, and to help rebuild confidence in the farming and agriculture sectors. Businesses and the financial sector must align their roles with those of other actors, and the CBD needs to set key principles for investors and entry points for businesses to take action.

The expectation for the coming two years is that targets of the post-2020 framework that will be agreed and adopted are underpinned by a worldwide political will to move beyond short-termism, market interest or political support, towards longer-term results. This should create a conducive environment among companies and the financial sector and hence support a system that invests in biodiversity rather than destroying it.

By Gianpiero Menza and Isabella Pochini, originally published by Bioversity International.


For more information, contact Gianpiero Menza, Private Sector Engagement Coordinator at Bioversity International.

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  • Delivery of quality and diverse planting material

Delivery of quality and diverse planting material

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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

Delivery of quality and diverse planting material is a major constraint for restoration. What solutions, what emerging needs? The Bonn Challenge has now pledged 350 million hectares of degraded land globally for different forms of restoration. It can be an essential contribution to sustainable development, to reduce poverty, food insecurity and enhance biodiversity. However, restoration is easier pledged than done. A critical barrier to delivering restoration at scale is the lack of delivery systems at scale for diverse, adapted and high quality native tree seeds and planting material.

This discussion forum will bring together representatives from national governments who have made significant pledges under the Bonn Challenge, development actors, private sector (seed and planting material companies), civil society, and researchers from the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry. It will show the extent of the challenge, review and discuss the range of issues related to the set-up at scale of delivery systems of suitable and adapted seeds and planting material, for effective, sustainable land restoration. It will explore the practical technical, economic and institutional challenges stakeholders currently face in delivering at scale suitable seeds and planting material. It will also explore issues such as how to best access and leverage tree biodiversity, including native species, keeping into account the quality, origin and diversity of seeds and planting material used. It will present and discuss a range of technical, economic and institutional solutions that scientists and stakeholders have developed to address these issues. Participants will discuss the common solutions across regions and remaining gaps and barriers, as well as the need for additional innovations.

This video was first published by the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF).

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  • Guidelines for equitable and sustainable non-timber forest product management

Guidelines for equitable and sustainable non-timber forest product management

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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

How can we improve local livelihoods while maintaining forest biodiversity and strengthening sustainable forest management in a socially inclusive and just manner? These guidelines present practical strategies and field examples for the inclusive and sustainable extraction, sale and management of forest products, particularly NTFPs. They build upon the framework of the Community Biodiversity Management approach in which three outcomes are sought; (1) community empowerment and social equity, (2) biodiversity conservation and (3) livelihood development (Sthapit et al. 2016). The guidelines draw upon data from the project: ‘Innovations in Ecosystem Management and Conservation’ carried out between 2014 and 2017 in districts of two Indian states: Mandla District in Madhya Pradesh and Uttara Kannada District in Karnataka.

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  • Certifying Environmental Social Responsibility: Special Issue

Certifying Environmental Social Responsibility: Special Issue

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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

This Special Issue aims to contribute to the emerging science on how to maintain and rehabilitate biodiversity and ecosystem services effectively in the tropics where agricultural expansion has shaped the landscapes. Food production as a provisioning ecosystem service dominates direct economic value and employment in roughly half the world. Its sustainability, or lack thereof, depends on how the trade-offs between human activities and ecosystem services, beyond the provision of food, are balanced and managed locally and globally.

The Special Issue is a result of a research program by the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA). The program ‘zooms out’ from the details of certification schemes as such, and asks the broader questions of when, where and how certification responses arise to what types of issues, by whom they are initiated and what broader consequences they have.

The complete list of articles is:

  1. Environmentally and socially responsible global production and trade of timber and tree crop commodities: certification as a transient issue-attention cycle response to ecological and social issues
    Beria Leimona, Meine van Noordwijk, Dagmar Mithöfer, Paolo Cerutti
  2. Certify and shift blame, or resolve issues? Environmentally and socially responsible global trade and production of timber and tree crops
    Dagmar Mithöfer, Meine van Noordwijk, Beria Leimona, Paolo Omar Cerutti
  3. Tropical forest-transition landscapes: a portfolio for studying people, tree crops and agro-ecological change in context
    Sonya Dewi, Meine Van Noordwijk, Muhammad Thoha Zulkarnain, Adrian Dwiputra, Glenn Hyman, Ravi Prabhu, Vincent Gitz, Robert Nasi
  4. Discourses on the performance gap of agriculture in a green economy: a Q-methodology study in Indonesia
    Sacha Amaruzaman, Beria Leimona, Meine van Noordwijk, Betha Lusiana
  5. Unpacking ‘sustainable’ cocoa: do sustainability standards, development projects and policies address producer concerns in Indonesia, Cameroon and Peru?
    Dagmar Mithöfer, James M. Roshetko, Jason A. Donovan, Ewane Nathalie, Valentina Robiglio, Duman Wau, Denis J. Sonwa, Trent Blare
  6. Harnessing local strength for sustainable coffee value chains in India and Nicaragua: reevaluating certification to global sustainability standards
    Dagmar Mithöfer, V. Ernesto Méndez, Arshiya Bose, Philippe Vaast
  7. Reviewing the impacts of coffee certification programmes on smallholder livelihoods
    Joshua G. Bray, Jeffrey Neilson
  8. Making a green rubber stamp: emerging dynamics of natural rubber eco-certification
    Sean F. Kennedy, Beria Leimona, Zhuang-Fang Yi
  9. Timber certification as a catalyst for change in forest governance in Cameroon, Indonesia, and Peru
    Sini Savilaakso, Paolo Omar Cerutti, Javier G. Montoya Zumaeta, Ruslandi, Edouard E. Mendoula, Raphael Tsanga
  10. Energizing agroforestry: Ilex guayusa as an additional commodity to diversify Amazonian agroforestry systems
    Torsten Krause, Barry Ness
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  • Putting the concept of the ‘landscape approach’ into action

Putting the concept of the ‘landscape approach’ into action

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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

Foraged forest food on display at a local food fair in Luwingu, Zambia. Photo by Joe Nkadaani/CIFOR

“Landscape approaches” seek to provide tools and concepts for allocating and managing land to achieve social, economic, and environmental objectives in areas where agriculture, livestock, mining and other productive land uses compete with environmental and biodiversity goals. 

In this article, the Center for International Forestry Research‘s (CIFOR) James Reed and Terry Sunderland discuss getting these approaches off the ground with a new, five-year project.

Given the vast range of landscapes on this earth, we have yet to devise a singular definition of the landscape approach, but this is how we described the aim and purpose in a research paper back in 2013: The term can be as elastic as the changing and developing environments in which it’s meant to be implemented – a landscape approach is, inherently, a context-based process. As such, we assert there is not a single landscape approach, as is often presumed, but a wide range of landscape approaches that can be applied in differing geographical social and institutional contexts.

In an attempt to reconcile competing land use objectives, landscape approaches have increasingly become a dominant discourse within the conservation and development lexicon. It is now recognized that sectorial silos must be overcome to start down sustainable development pathways acknowledging interdependencies between sectors operating within multifunctional landscapes — and tropical landscapes in particular, which perpetually see gaps between knowledge and implementation and between policy and practice. Consequently, while the landscape approach discourse has continued to evolve, attempts at implementation — and particularly evaluation — in the tropics remain nascent.

Watch: FTA scientists feature in innovative series of talks on landscapes

Significant advances have been made in how we think about landscape approaches, be that in conceptual frameworks, methodological tools and resources, reviews of theoretical development and implementation, or operational guidelines. But putting them into action and monitoring progress has been a different story.

Now is the time to take this next step – to build on this momentum and see how landscape approaches can work on the ground. With all the talk about their potential, how are they put into action, and to what extent are they effective in achieving multiple objectives?

The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) has recently funded CIFOR and partners to operationalize landscape approaches in three tropical countries – Indonesia, Burkina Faso and Zambia – over the course of five years. In this work, we seek not only to use landscape approaches to address challenges in communities in these countries, but also to observe the implementation process and local uptake of such approaches. We plan to convey our findings as we go along so that others can learn simultaneously from our work.

Read also: The concept and development of the ‘landscape approach’

Resin trees are seen in West Java, Indonesia, which is a common habitat for the Javanese monkey. Photo by Ricky Martin/CIFOR

OPERATION OPERATIONALIZE

Recent UN conventions for biodiversity, climate change and sustainable development have all called for more integrated and sustainable approaches to landscape governance. International policy dialogues are increasingly doing away with perceived antagonisms between sectors and facilitating greater engagement between forestry, food, water and energy, with an enhanced acknowledgement of the role of the private sector as well.

Yet, uptake of landscape approaches within the tropics has thus far been limited, which is likely in part due to a weak evidence base demonstrating effectiveness. A recent review failed to find a single definitive example of a landscape approach in the tropics, or at least reported in scientific literature. This is not to say that they do not exist, but perhaps that grass-roots efforts lack capacity or motivation to monitor progress and formally report findings.

This project will seek to address this gap as CIFOR and partners will assume a mediating role within landscapes in Burkina Faso, Indonesia and Zambia. With a particular focus on the contribution of biodiversity and a remit to engage policy, practice and people, we will facilitate multi-stakeholder platforms and identify linkages with existing institutional structures within each of the landscapes. Through working with existing frameworks and publicly available information (such as census, health and income data, and remote sensing imagery) we hope to further develop a model for scaling up our efforts easily adopted by governments, NGOs and other institutions.

Read also: Agroforestry offers pathways to sustainable landscape restoration

A MATTER OF TIME

The long-term nature of the funding is a crucial foundation for this effort, as it presents a rare opportunity to adopt the mindset of moving from “project to process” by examining and explaining how dynamic processes of social, political, economic and environmental interactions work over time within these landscapes. It allows us to learn deeply through diagnosis, rather than focus on generating immediate results within the rigid confines of a project framework.

As such, over the course of the next five years, our research team intends to embrace two key components of the landscape approach philosophy. Firstly, we will think beyond typical project-cycle timelines and structures and become more fully established and integrated within the target landscapes.

Secondly, in contrast to many prior approaches, we will attempt to facilitate a truly trans-disciplinary approach to all activities, from design and implementation to governance and evaluation. Rather than having a preconceived agenda of what the landscape and its stakeholders should fulfill, we will engage with open minds and a suite of tools designed to enhance stakeholder engagement and action, assess divergence in stakeholder perception and objectives, and in turn generate an increased understanding of the landscape dynamics. Only then, can we build stakeholder capacity to make more informed choices, evaluate progress, and empower previously marginalized groups to more effectively engage in decision-making processes.

Ultimately, we hope that this process will not only contribute to a more robust evidence base for landscape approaches but also enhance stakeholder capacity and landscape sustainability within the target landscapes. A key objective is to work in tandem with landscape stakeholders to co-construct a shared learning platform that can improve our understanding of landscape dynamics in these countries. While we are not blind to the complex challenges of integrating conservation and development, we are committed to implementing and reporting on these landscape approaches and developing an inclusive dissemination strategy with our colleagues at the Global Landscapes Forum. We hope that both the positive and negative outcomes that emerge will contribute to our understanding of the conditions under which landscape approaches can develop and therefore inform future evidence-based research, policy and practice agendas.

By James Reed and Terry Sunderland, originally published at CIFOR’s Forests News.

For more information on this topic, please contact Terry Sunderland at [email protected] or James Reed at [email protected].


This research forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry, which is supported by CGIAR Fund Donors.

This research was supported by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMUB)

 

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  • Putting the concept of the ‘landscape approach’ into action

Putting the concept of the ‘landscape approach’ into action

Posted by

FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

Foraged forest food on display at a local food fair in Luwingu, Zambia. Photo by Joe Nkadaani/CIFOR

“Landscape approaches” seek to provide tools and concepts for allocating and managing land to achieve social, economic, and environmental objectives in areas where agriculture, livestock, mining and other productive land uses compete with environmental and biodiversity goals. 

In this article, the Center for International Forestry Research‘s (CIFOR) James Reed and Terry Sunderland discuss getting these approaches off the ground with a new, five-year project.

Given the vast range of landscapes on this earth, we have yet to devise a singular definition of the landscape approach, but this is how we described the aim and purpose in a research paper back in 2013: The term can be as elastic as the changing and developing environments in which it’s meant to be implemented – a landscape approach is, inherently, a context-based process. As such, we assert there is not a single landscape approach, as is often presumed, but a wide range of landscape approaches that can be applied in differing geographical social and institutional contexts.

In an attempt to reconcile competing land use objectives, landscape approaches have increasingly become a dominant discourse within the conservation and development lexicon. It is now recognized that sectorial silos must be overcome to start down sustainable development pathways acknowledging interdependencies between sectors operating within multifunctional landscapes — and tropical landscapes in particular, which perpetually see gaps between knowledge and implementation and between policy and practice. Consequently, while the landscape approach discourse has continued to evolve, attempts at implementation — and particularly evaluation — in the tropics remain nascent.

Watch: FTA scientists feature in innovative series of talks on landscapes

Significant advances have been made in how we think about landscape approaches, be that in conceptual frameworks, methodological tools and resources, reviews of theoretical development and implementation, or operational guidelines. But putting them into action and monitoring progress has been a different story.

Now is the time to take this next step – to build on this momentum and see how landscape approaches can work on the ground. With all the talk about their potential, how are they put into action, and to what extent are they effective in achieving multiple objectives?

The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) has recently funded CIFOR and partners to operationalize landscape approaches in three tropical countries – Indonesia, Burkina Faso and Zambia – over the course of five years. In this work, we seek not only to use landscape approaches to address challenges in communities in these countries, but also to observe the implementation process and local uptake of such approaches. We plan to convey our findings as we go along so that others can learn simultaneously from our work.

Read also: The concept and development of the ‘landscape approach’

Resin trees are seen in West Java, Indonesia, which is a common habitat for the Javanese monkey. Photo by Ricky Martin/CIFOR

OPERATION OPERATIONALIZE

Recent UN conventions for biodiversity, climate change and sustainable development have all called for more integrated and sustainable approaches to landscape governance. International policy dialogues are increasingly doing away with perceived antagonisms between sectors and facilitating greater engagement between forestry, food, water and energy, with an enhanced acknowledgement of the role of the private sector as well.

Yet, uptake of landscape approaches within the tropics has thus far been limited, which is likely in part due to a weak evidence base demonstrating effectiveness. A recent review failed to find a single definitive example of a landscape approach in the tropics, or at least reported in scientific literature. This is not to say that they do not exist, but perhaps that grass-roots efforts lack capacity or motivation to monitor progress and formally report findings.

This project will seek to address this gap as CIFOR and partners will assume a mediating role within landscapes in Burkina Faso, Indonesia and Zambia. With a particular focus on the contribution of biodiversity and a remit to engage policy, practice and people, we will facilitate multi-stakeholder platforms and identify linkages with existing institutional structures within each of the landscapes. Through working with existing frameworks and publicly available information (such as census, health and income data, and remote sensing imagery) we hope to further develop a model for scaling up our efforts easily adopted by governments, NGOs and other institutions.

Read also: Agroforestry offers pathways to sustainable landscape restoration

A MATTER OF TIME

The long-term nature of the funding is a crucial foundation for this effort, as it presents a rare opportunity to adopt the mindset of moving from “project to process” by examining and explaining how dynamic processes of social, political, economic and environmental interactions work over time within these landscapes. It allows us to learn deeply through diagnosis, rather than focus on generating immediate results within the rigid confines of a project framework.

As such, over the course of the next five years, our research team intends to embrace two key components of the landscape approach philosophy. Firstly, we will think beyond typical project-cycle timelines and structures and become more fully established and integrated within the target landscapes.

Secondly, in contrast to many prior approaches, we will attempt to facilitate a truly trans-disciplinary approach to all activities, from design and implementation to governance and evaluation. Rather than having a preconceived agenda of what the landscape and its stakeholders should fulfill, we will engage with open minds and a suite of tools designed to enhance stakeholder engagement and action, assess divergence in stakeholder perception and objectives, and in turn generate an increased understanding of the landscape dynamics. Only then, can we build stakeholder capacity to make more informed choices, evaluate progress, and empower previously marginalized groups to more effectively engage in decision-making processes.

Ultimately, we hope that this process will not only contribute to a more robust evidence base for landscape approaches but also enhance stakeholder capacity and landscape sustainability within the target landscapes. A key objective is to work in tandem with landscape stakeholders to co-construct a shared learning platform that can improve our understanding of landscape dynamics in these countries. While we are not blind to the complex challenges of integrating conservation and development, we are committed to implementing and reporting on these landscape approaches and developing an inclusive dissemination strategy with our colleagues at the Global Landscapes Forum. We hope that both the positive and negative outcomes that emerge will contribute to our understanding of the conditions under which landscape approaches can develop and therefore inform future evidence-based research, policy and practice agendas.

By James Reed and Terry Sunderland, originally published at CIFOR’s Forests News.

For more information on this topic, please contact Terry Sunderland at [email protected] or James Reed at [email protected].


This research forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry, which is supported by CGIAR Fund Donors.

This research was supported by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMUB)

 

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  • Failure to manage blue carbon ecosystems could break the internet 

Failure to manage blue carbon ecosystems could break the internet 

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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

Daniel Murdiyarso, CIFOR Principal Scientist and IPB professor, speaks during the opening plenary of the Blue Carbon Summit. Photo by AIPI

Failing to properly manage “blue carbon” ecosystems could result in biodiversity losses, pronounced climate change effects and negative impacts on people’s livelihoods, and could even affect the internet. 

The Blue Carbon Summit held on July 17-18 in Jakarta, Indonesia, covered everything from the most well-known blue carbon ecosystems of mangroves and seagrass to coral reefs, the fish industry, ecotourism, plastic waste, shipping emissions and offshore mining.

Over two days, scientists, government, the private sector, media and likeminded community members came together for discussions that called for coordinated efforts to address issues related to blue carbon.

Blue carbon is that which is stored in coastal ecosystems, in contrast to “green carbon” stored in plants, trees and soil. In comparison to the attention paid to the carbon sequestered by forests, blue carbon has thus far remained relatively under the radar – but this belies its importance.

“We are here to correct an imbalance,” said Robert Nasi, Director General of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), during the summit opening, referring to the global focus on issues such as deforestation and greenhouse gases. “What is happening in coastal areas seems a bit forgotten. It’s a great time for us to bring that to the fore.”

Sixty percent of the world’s population lives in coastal areas, where vital infrastructure can also be found worldwide, Nasi explained, underscoring the importance of both scientists and policymakers understanding how the ecosystems work and how they can be restored. “Coastal ecosystems are fundamental for the survival of the species, for ecosystem services, for biodiversity, and for blue carbon,” he added.

“If we don’t do anything about these coastal areas, about blue carbon ecosystems, what is going to happen to us?” Nasi asked, pointing out that aside from people’s livelihoods and biodiversity in coastal areas being at stake, major infrastructure such as fiber-optic cables is often below sea level and could theoretically end up under water. “So if we don’t do something, we may also lose some part of the internet.”

Read also: Coastal blue carbon from planted mangroves holds promise

Policymakers and scientific experts came together to discuss blue carbon’s potential to mitigate climate change and enhance sustainable economic development during the summit. Photo by AIPI

“We think that this is the right time to work on this topic because of a critical mass already sharing their knowledge, already having results,” said Daniel Murdiyarso, Principal Scientist at CIFOR, which coorganized the summit, and professor in the Department of Geophysics and Meteorology at Bogor Agricultural University (IPB).

“So we want to sit together and see how this can be provided for the government, to make a science-based recommendation related to blue carbon.”

Murdiyarso expressed his hope that findings from the summit could be mainstreamed into the public agenda and connected to the Paris agreement on climate change, especially given blue carbon’s clear links to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Read also: Focus on mangroves: Blue carbon science for sustainable development

Indonesian Academy of Sciences (AIPI) President Satrio Sumantri Brodjonegoro concurred, saying that the discussions were expected to identify gaps hindering the mainstreaming of blue carbon in the national agenda and to pave the way for blue carbon development in Indonesia. As the world’s largest archipelago, with 99,000 kilometers of coastline, the country is well-placed to not only set its own path but also to set a global example.

After the opening plenary on Day 1, subplenary sessions looked at the roles of non-state actors and the donor community. Following that, a series of parallel discussion forums considered the fishing industry, marine tourism and the shipping industry, governance systems, financing blue carbon development, hydrodynamic and sustainable coastal resources, and seagrass and climate change.

Day 2 began with a keynote speech from Indonesia’s Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, before subplenary sessions on international partnerships and a high-level forum of government representatives. The day was rounded out with parallel discussion forums on subsidence, sedimentation and sea-level rises, and mangroves and climate.

The discussions from the summit are expected to be developed into a white paper, set to cover the following points.

  • Blue carbon in both open ocean and coastal ecosystems, including mangroves and seagrasses, is important for climate change mitigation because of its significant carbon storage capacity compared with terrestrial ecosystems. These ecosystems also offer significant climate change adaptation opportunities, especially in helping coastal regions keep pace with sea level rise.
  • Blue carbon ecosystems provide numerous services to people and now is the time to consider their role in developing alternative livelihoods. Sustainable ecotourism, fisheries and shellfish farming are all industries that generate direct economic benefits while protecting intact mangroves.
  • Conservation and restoration are essential components of the blue carbon economy
  • Implementation of a blue carbon economy needs to take into consideration more than just carbon, and should encompass economic sectors such as fisheries, ecotourism, transportation and shipping.
  • Due to complex history and geography, governance structures and institutionalizing the blue carbon economy have posed considerable challenges in the past.
  • Mechanisms to finance the blue carbon economy must reflect the unique benefits and challenges of blue carbon and help overcome institutional biases.
  • The participation of local communities is essential to establishing the blue carbon economy
  • While the level of understanding of blue carbon is sufficient, capacity development will require stakeholders to be better connected.
  • To put blue carbon on national and global agendas, there must be a stronger coalition within and between government agencies to engage a wider network of stakeholders.
  • Partnerships are key to the success of achieving national and global objectives and goals. Learning lessons from partners is cost effective and therefore should be encouraged, while opportunities for greater cooperation should be enhanced.
A mangrove forest thrives in Sumatra, Indonesia. Photo by M. Edliadi/CIFOR

“Improved policies and implementation of blue carbon initiatives in the context of addressing climate change certainly cannot be done by one country. This effort requires coordination and engagement of all elements of development, at the national and regional levels – with the support of all parties including governments, private sector, communities as well as national and international development partners,” Gellwynn Yusuf, representing Indonesia’s National Development Planning Agency (BAPPENAS), said in closing the event.

This could be a mechanism for Indonesia to achieve SDGs, particularly by meeting Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) while also improving economic factors. While acknowledging that coordination among agencies was important, and that some financing challenges remained to be solved, Yusuf called on the international community to support Indonesia’s efforts in making blue carbon a key policy for combating the negative impacts of climate change.

“As the global leader in blue carbon ecosystems, Indonesia has an opportunity to demonstrate strong leadership and set the direction internationally for other countries,” he said.

By Hannah Maddison-Harris, FTA Communications and Editorial Coordinator. 


The Blue Carbon Summit was organized by AIPI, CIFOR, the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) and the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF). 

This research forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), which is supported by CGIAR Fund Donors.

  • Home
  • Failure to manage blue carbon ecosystems could break the internet 

Failure to manage blue carbon ecosystems could break the internet 

Posted by

FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

Daniel Murdiyarso, CIFOR Principal Scientist and IPB professor, speaks during the opening plenary of the Blue Carbon Summit. Photo by AIPI

Failing to properly manage “blue carbon” ecosystems could result in biodiversity losses, pronounced climate change effects and negative impacts on people’s livelihoods, and could even affect the internet. 

The Blue Carbon Summit held on July 17-18 in Jakarta, Indonesia, covered everything from the most well-known blue carbon ecosystems of mangroves and seagrass to coral reefs, the fish industry, ecotourism, plastic waste, shipping emissions and offshore mining.

Over two days, scientists, government, the private sector, media and likeminded community members came together for discussions that called for coordinated efforts to address issues related to blue carbon.

Blue carbon is that which is stored in coastal ecosystems, in contrast to “green carbon” stored in plants, trees and soil. In comparison to the attention paid to the carbon sequestered by forests, blue carbon has thus far remained relatively under the radar – but this belies its importance.

“We are here to correct an imbalance,” said Robert Nasi, Director General of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), during the summit opening, referring to the global focus on issues such as deforestation and greenhouse gases. “What is happening in coastal areas seems a bit forgotten. It’s a great time for us to bring that to the fore.”

Sixty percent of the world’s population lives in coastal areas, where vital infrastructure can also be found worldwide, Nasi explained, underscoring the importance of both scientists and policymakers understanding how the ecosystems work and how they can be restored. “Coastal ecosystems are fundamental for the survival of the species, for ecosystem services, for biodiversity, and for blue carbon,” he added.

“If we don’t do anything about these coastal areas, about blue carbon ecosystems, what is going to happen to us?” Nasi asked, pointing out that aside from people’s livelihoods and biodiversity in coastal areas being at stake, major infrastructure such as fiber-optic cables is often below sea level and could theoretically end up under water. “So if we don’t do something, we may also lose some part of the internet.”

Read also: Coastal blue carbon from planted mangroves holds promise

Policymakers and scientific experts came together to discuss blue carbon’s potential to mitigate climate change and enhance sustainable economic development during the summit. Photo by AIPI

“We think that this is the right time to work on this topic because of a critical mass already sharing their knowledge, already having results,” said Daniel Murdiyarso, Principal Scientist at CIFOR, which coorganized the summit, and professor in the Department of Geophysics and Meteorology at Bogor Agricultural University (IPB).

“So we want to sit together and see how this can be provided for the government, to make a science-based recommendation related to blue carbon.”

Murdiyarso expressed his hope that findings from the summit could be mainstreamed into the public agenda and connected to the Paris agreement on climate change, especially given blue carbon’s clear links to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Read also: Focus on mangroves: Blue carbon science for sustainable development

Indonesian Academy of Sciences (AIPI) President Satrio Sumantri Brodjonegoro concurred, saying that the discussions were expected to identify gaps hindering the mainstreaming of blue carbon in the national agenda and to pave the way for blue carbon development in Indonesia. As the world’s largest archipelago, with 99,000 kilometers of coastline, the country is well-placed to not only set its own path but also to set a global example.

After the opening plenary on Day 1, subplenary sessions looked at the roles of non-state actors and the donor community. Following that, a series of parallel discussion forums considered the fishing industry, marine tourism and the shipping industry, governance systems, financing blue carbon development, hydrodynamic and sustainable coastal resources, and seagrass and climate change.

Day 2 began with a keynote speech from Indonesia’s Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, before subplenary sessions on international partnerships and a high-level forum of government representatives. The day was rounded out with parallel discussion forums on subsidence, sedimentation and sea-level rises, and mangroves and climate.

The discussions from the summit are expected to be developed into a white paper, set to cover the following points.

  • Blue carbon in both open ocean and coastal ecosystems, including mangroves and seagrasses, is important for climate change mitigation because of its significant carbon storage capacity compared with terrestrial ecosystems. These ecosystems also offer significant climate change adaptation opportunities, especially in helping coastal regions keep pace with sea level rise.
  • Blue carbon ecosystems provide numerous services to people and now is the time to consider their role in developing alternative livelihoods. Sustainable ecotourism, fisheries and shellfish farming are all industries that generate direct economic benefits while protecting intact mangroves.
  • Conservation and restoration are essential components of the blue carbon economy
  • Implementation of a blue carbon economy needs to take into consideration more than just carbon, and should encompass economic sectors such as fisheries, ecotourism, transportation and shipping.
  • Due to complex history and geography, governance structures and institutionalizing the blue carbon economy have posed considerable challenges in the past.
  • Mechanisms to finance the blue carbon economy must reflect the unique benefits and challenges of blue carbon and help overcome institutional biases.
  • The participation of local communities is essential to establishing the blue carbon economy
  • While the level of understanding of blue carbon is sufficient, capacity development will require stakeholders to be better connected.
  • To put blue carbon on national and global agendas, there must be a stronger coalition within and between government agencies to engage a wider network of stakeholders.
  • Partnerships are key to the success of achieving national and global objectives and goals. Learning lessons from partners is cost effective and therefore should be encouraged, while opportunities for greater cooperation should be enhanced.
A mangrove forest thrives in Sumatra, Indonesia. Photo by M. Edliadi/CIFOR

“Improved policies and implementation of blue carbon initiatives in the context of addressing climate change certainly cannot be done by one country. This effort requires coordination and engagement of all elements of development, at the national and regional levels – with the support of all parties including governments, private sector, communities as well as national and international development partners,” Gellwynn Yusuf, representing Indonesia’s National Development Planning Agency (BAPPENAS), said in closing the event.

This could be a mechanism for Indonesia to achieve SDGs, particularly by meeting Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) while also improving economic factors. While acknowledging that coordination among agencies was important, and that some financing challenges remained to be solved, Yusuf called on the international community to support Indonesia’s efforts in making blue carbon a key policy for combating the negative impacts of climate change.

“As the global leader in blue carbon ecosystems, Indonesia has an opportunity to demonstrate strong leadership and set the direction internationally for other countries,” he said.

By Hannah Maddison-Harris, FTA Communications and Editorial Coordinator. 


The Blue Carbon Summit was organized by AIPI, CIFOR, the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) and the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF). 

This research forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), which is supported by CGIAR Fund Donors.


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