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Discussing NDCs and social justice at COP25 – options to counteract climate change (Vol. 3, Issue 8)

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Discussing NDCs and social justice at COP25 – options to counteract climate change

Welcome to this years’ last edition of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) newsletter.
The end of year is marked by key international events. Just last week, with a very dense, and rich Global Landscape Forum in Luxembourg on Sustainable Finance where FTA hosted 2 sessions, one on Innovative Finance and another on Restoration of Degraded Lands for Bioenergy. How can we turn the world of finance into an engine for greening our planet? There are huge amounts of liquidities and our economy is seeking places where to invest. But “it is not an investment, if it destroys the planet”, said Carole Dieschbourg, Minister for the Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development of Luxembourg, during the opening. Make sure you contribute to our eDialogue until the 15th of December. You may read more about this in this in the special feature of this newsletter.
At COP25 in Madrid, FTA and its partners are present in various side events, this year with a strong focus on two issues. First wildfires. Climate change is on the rise and 2019 has seen some of the most dramatic forest fires in recent history. What can we do about this? How can FTA research contribute to help countries and actors? How does it liaise with NDC implementation? Countries and actors discussed these issues today in a very exciting side event organized by Mongolia with the support of FTA/CIFOR. This event follows the ongoing work of the Thematic Working Group on agriculture, food security and land use, facilitated by FAO under the umbrella, of the NDC partnership.
Second, climate change is not only an issue of environmental justice, it is also an issue of social justice. On Saturday, 7th December 2019, 12.00-13.30 – at the Chilean Pavillon, FTA will host, together with CAN and Climate Strategies, a side-event on Social and environmental justice as a trigger of robust ambitious climate action and prosperous future for all. As Climate change becomes inevitable, we need to better understand and assess the vulnerabilities of our ecosystems and people, in order to devise adaptation strategies and measures. This concerns all sectors, and very prominently the forests and the people who depend on them.  FTA and FAO have worked since 2 years on a landmark publication to address this issue: a framework methodology for vulnerability assessments to climate change of forests and forest dependent people. So please join FTA, CAN and Climate Strategies to see main actions and measures to achieve social and environmental justice for climate resilience and ambitious action.
Vincent Gitz

FTA Director

Special feature

Innovative finance for sustainable landscapes – our discussion at GLF Luxembourg continues!

imagethumb.jpgLast Saturday, 30 November 2019, in the prestigious European Convention Center in Luxembourg, an outstanding and diverse panel discussed innovative mechanisms and initiatives to upscale sustainable finance.
Inspired by the words of Carole Dieschbourg, Minister for the Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development of Luxembourg, who in her opening speech immediately made clear the expected outcomes of this very intense day (“It is not an investment, if it destroys the planet!”), the FTA-organized afternoon plenary session saw 7 different backgrounds and perspectives come together seeking common ground for change. Starting from the success story of ACOFOP/FORESCOM who manage total annual turnover of 8-10 million from FSC certified sustainable forest management, a story exemplified through the passionate words of María Teresita Chinchilla Miranda and Elmer Francisco Méndez Hernández (senior advisor and CEO respectively), the moderator Gerhard Mulder from Oxylus Climate Advisors, was able to elicit point of views and suggestions from all the panelists in a lively and deep debate.
Pauline Nantongo – Director of Ecotrust in Uganda, Edit Kiss – Director of Development and Portfolio Management of Althelia Funds, Juan Carlos Gonzalez Aybar of the Carbon Neutrality Branch of Total SA, Hans Loth – Global Head UN Environment Partnership of Rabobank, Veronica Galmez of the Forest and Climate Team of the Green Climate Fund all were unanimous in agreeing that innovation requires risk, but it is the only possibility to renovate finance and transition towards a true sustainability.
The session was opened by the FTA Director, Vincent Gitz, who indicated 3 mutually re-inforcing pathways necessary for this transition: economic growth in the productive tropical landscape, together with a care for environment and climate issues, integrating social dimension inclusiveness especially for smallholders, women, SMEs and indigenous communities.
The discussion also touched upon the draft study currently being analyzed by a community of experts online through an eDialogue also summarized in a White Paper. Given the success of this event, to allow participants and panelists to continue sharing their views, FTA, CIFOR and Tropenbos have agreed to extend one last time the deadline for commenting the paper in the eDialogue until the 15th of December 2019. Don’t miss this opportunity to voice your ideas, experiences and comments, the discussion is open to all, join us!
Read a detailed report of the GLF session here.



Peatlands in South America an asset in climate action efforts

imagethumb.jpgSouth America may be sitting, unaware, on a pile of climate gold, ammunition in efforts to forestall global warming.
New maps of tropical and subtropical peatlands suggest these carbon-rich wetlands are more widespread in South America than on any other continent, with significant deposits in the Andean mountains.
These recent findings indicate the need for more research to validate their extent and location, and for a closer collaboration between scientists, local communities and authorities to sustainably manage them. Read more.

How to sweeten the deal for cocoa farmers?

imagethumb.jpgCocoa is in high demand. In 2018, the global chocolate industry was worth close to USD 100 billion, and it is projected to grow. Consumers are increasingly asking for sustainably sourced products, and new kinds of investors are looking for positive environmental and social impacts, in addition to financial returns.

But, many cocoa farmers are poor, even now when the market price for cocoa is relatively high. During the past two years, when prices were lower, farmers had an even harder time making a living.

Some reflections on the situation here.

Mobilizing change for women within collective tenure regimes

imagethumb.jpgLocal communities manage a significant portion of the world's remaining forests, pastures, and fisheries as common property resources, but they are rarely recognized as formal owners. Important progress has occurred during the last twenty years, as growing evidence suggests that devolving rights to communities can provide incentives for new forms of investment that facilitate sustainable outcomes as well as greater equity in the distribution of benefits. While much has been learned over recent decades from progress in tenure rights recognition worldwide, less is known about the reform processes that can lead to better outcomes for women and other marginalized groups. A new paper from CIFOR analyzed data collected using quantitative and qualitative methods to analyze different reform processes in Uganda, Peru, and Indonesia. These reforms included several changes in laws, legal provisions, policies, and institutions that redefined the rights and responsibilities over who uses, manages, and controls forest resources and how. Read more.

Potential of Bamboo for Sustainable Renewable Energy Production in West Africa

imagethumb.jpgAcross many rural and peri-urban areas in West Africa, a large proportion of households rely on charcoal or fuel wood as the main source of energy, especially for cooking. Over the years, the extraction of wood for charcoal production has been identified as a significant driver of forest degradation and deforestation within the region. With increasing population growth, the demand for charcoal or fuel wood is expected to increase with serious consequences for the region’s fast depleting forest resources, which provide critical ecosystem services. Bamboo offers a sustainable and valid alternative to mitigate this vicious circle.
Read about a recent workshop organized by our partner INBAR, held in Ghana.

ICRAF and FTA host first technical discussion on the development of a gender-responsive post-2020 global biodiversity framework

imagethumb.jpgThe unprecedented and accelerating loss of biodiversity is one of the greatest crises of our time. Biodiversity is the invisible infrastructure that supports the healthy functioning of our food systems, economies and communities—and it's deteriorating at an alarming rate: 1 million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction.

An Open-Ended Intersessional Working Group is charged with the development of a new framework and strategic plan that will replace the existing Strategic Plan for Biodiversity when it lapses in 2020. The first meeting of the Working Group was held at the UN Environment headquarters in Nairobi on 27-30 August 2019.

Read more about this work here.

Why tree diversity in agroforestry matters: perspectives from the Comoros archipelago

imagethumb.jpgThe island of Anjouan in the Comoros has experienced one of the highest deforestation rates in the world. In the last two decades, 80% of its natural forests have disappeared. This was mainly due to agricultural pressure and excessive timber extraction, which triggered a negative spiral of natural resource degradation and poverty that put present and future livelihoods at risk.

Agroforestry is widely recommended as a pathway to restoring degraded landscapes through sustainable agriculture. However, different environmental and social benefits come from different tree species and management practices in different landscape niches. Full story here.

Rethinking poverty eradication and food security through agriculture in Africa

imagethumb.jpgAgriculture in Africa is expected to meet the dual objectives of providing food and helping people to escape poverty but, in practice, this is rarely possible on the small farms that cover the vast majority of the continent’s agricultural landscapes. It’s time for policymakers, agricultural researchers and practitioners to recognize the need to separate food security and poverty eradication, a new research argues. Read more.

‘Fruit-tree portfolios’ for nutrition and health: a new approach

imagethumb.jpgIn much of the world, the achievement of dietary recommendations is falling short and will continue to do so unless strategic interventions are made to transform agricultural production to include a greater diversity of readily available, nutritious foods.

The need to focus much more on food quality through ‘nutrition-sensitive’ agriculture has increasingly been recognised in global policy frameworks and commitments. Within this new agenda, increasing tree cultivation has an important role to play because around 74% of fruits produced globally are harvested from trees, which also produce nutritious leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds and edible oils.

To better incorporate fruits into local food systems and meet the challenge of seasonal availability, FTA scientists developed a methodology based on ‘fruit-tree portfolios’, which selects in partnership with farmers the fruit-tree species for production that are suitable socio-ecologically and important nutritionally. Read more.

Understanding bamboo’s ecosystem services

imagethumb.jpgBamboo forests have been intimately associated with human wellbeing for thousands of years. With a global spread of more than 30 million hectares, this fast-growing plant provides a number of critical goods and services for rural populations. As well as supplying food, forage, timber, construction and bioenergy in rural farming systems, and acting as a crucial part of subsistence livelihoods, bamboo forests also furnish a wide range of environmental services: as a source of carbon storage, a means to stabilise slopes and prevent soil erosion, and a crucial part of biological diversity.

New research, published in November 2019 by the International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation (INBAR) and CIFOR, provides a much-needed framework for assessing bamboo’s ecosystem services. Access it here.

Banner photo by O. Girard/CIFOR. Special feature and news photos, from top, by: P. Valbuena/GLF; K. Hergoualc'h/CIFOR; O. Girard/CIFOR; T. Saputro/CIFOR; O. Girard/CIFOR; E. S. Dumont/World Agroforestry; M. Balinga/CIFOR; World Agroforestry; N. Hogarth/CIFOR.

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Recent publications


Sustainable Development Goals: Their Impacts on Forests and People


Designing for engagement: A Realist Synthesis Review of how context affects the outcomes of multi-stakeholder forums on land use and/or land-use change


Drivers of forest loss in Papua and West Papua


Testing the Various Pathways Linking Forest Cover to Dietary Diversity in Tropical Landscapes


Framework for assessing ecosystem services from bamboo forests: Lessons from Asia and Africa


The politics of participation: Negotiating relationships through community forestry in the Maya Biosphere Reserve, Guatemala


Designing for engagement: A Realist Synthesis Review of how context affects the outcomes of multi-stakeholder forums on land use and/or land-use change


The colour of maize: Visions of green growth and farmers perceptions in northern Laos


Development and equity: A gendered inquiry in a swidden landscape


Mobilizing Change for Women Within Collective Tenure Regimes


Assessing the ecological vulnerability of forest landscape to agricultural frontier expansion in the Central Highlands of Vietnam


Poverty eradication and food security through agriculture in Africa: Rethinking objectives and entry points


Bridging funding gaps for climate and sustainable development: Pitfalls, progress and potential of private finance


A Planetary Health Perspective on Agroforestry in Sub-Saharan Africa


Restoring Forests, Restoring Communities

Innovating Finance to Overcome Current Barriers Towards Sustainable Landscapes – GLF Luxembourg 2019


FTA at COP 25

Social and environmental justice as a trigger of robust ambitious climate action and prosperous future for all
December 7, 2019
Madrid, Spain

The CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (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, ICRAF, INBAR and TBI.

FTA thanks all donors who supported this research through their contributions to the CGIAR Trust Fund.

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