LUM modular training course meeting on integrating biodiversity in Land Use Planning for African countries Nov 2019

ABCG to Roll-out a New Training Course on Integrating biodiversity in Land Use Planning

The Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group (ABCG) is developing a modular training course on integrating biodiversity in Land Use Planning for African countries. This course aims to provide an introduction to the theory and practical starting points of integrating biodiversity into land-use planning, for better land use decisions and will be released in 2020. On Nov 4-8, 2019, ABCG’s Land Use Planning task group members met in Nairobi, Kenya to review and refine the training course and map out the next steps.

LUM modular training course meeting on integrating biodiversity in Land Use Planning for African countries Nov 2019

Landscapes in Africa are being reshaped by a suite of drivers including population growth, changing resource utilization patterns, economic development and climate change. This change is putting a lot of pressure on the natural ecosystems leading to their sharp decline on the continent. Degradation of freshwater resources, habitat loss, loss of forest cover, species extinction, soil erosion and climate change are some of the effects being witnessed as a result of this change.

Land use planning offers an important solution to this challenge and realize sustainable land management. Sustainable land management would support to ensure that critical services provided by landscapes are maintained and enhanced. In addition, land use planning supports conservation planning frameworks to realize more robust conservation interventions.

ABCG through its Land Use Management task group consisting of members from six leading conservation organizations: Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy, Wildlife Conservation Society, World Resources Institute, African Wildlife Foundation and the Jane Goodall Institute, and other partners, have been developing a methodological approach to conservation and land use planning. This approach is based on scenario analysis, and guidelines for its application, to incorporate equitable and climate-smart alternatives into land use decisions for conservation.

Together these organizations have been able to pilot methodological approaches to conservation and land use planning based on scenario analysis, and guidelines for its application, to incorporate equitable and climate-smart alternatives into land use decisions for conservation. Pilot activities have been carried out in five countries in Africa (the Republic of Congo, DRC, Madagascar, Gabon and Tanzania) with the approach being promoted in other regions of Africa.

This course incorporates previous work done by the Land Use Management task members. It will involve a modular curriculum of theory, case studies, group work and decision support tool training. The course is intended for professionals responsible for land-use and natural resource management (including a wide range of sectors e.g. environment, tourism, transportation), or from cross-sectional management bodies.

The training course will build capacity of African governments and stakeholders in the use of tools and methodologies for effective land use planning. By providing the right tools and building capacity of stakeholders, ABCG believes that decision makers would be able to come up with land-use options that would support sustainable land management.

Related resources: Four African Case Studies Exploring How to Incorporate Biodiversity into Land Use Planning Using Spatial Prioritization and Scenario Analysis

ABCG FW-WASH Advocacy Workshop SA Participants 2019

October 2019 News Roundup

ABCG FW-WASH Advocacy Workshop SA Participants 2019Our October News Digest is a roundup of news and events in the past quarter (July, August, September). Featured in the digest are updates on various activities that ABCG members have been involved in, including work on strengthening advocacy strategy planning in the Freshwater conservation (FW) and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) integration activity. Included in the update is also news on a new toolkit published by IIED titled, Governance Assessment for Protected and Conserved Areas (GAPA). Methodology manual for GAPA facilitators.

ABCG FWWASH advocacy strategy planning training 2019

Why is Advocacy Key to Natural Resource Management?

ABCG FWWASH advocacy strategy planning training 2019A good advocacy strategy is an important component of a project and key to its success. Advocacy can help foster the uptake of project recommendations leading to a change in practice or the lack of it. Advocacy is important in ensuring that proposed actions are taken up by stakeholders and in influencing decision making to support the development of appropriate policies.

The Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group (ABCG) is strengthening its advocacy strategy planning in its Freshwater conservation (FW) and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) integration activity. Led by ABCG members Conservation International and the Jane Goodall Institute, this activity is expected to enable project teams scale-up their work through influencing key stakeholders and local government in adopting FW-WASH best practices and in the development of appropriate policies that improve human health and freshwater conservation.

Freshwater ecosystems are the very foundation upon which the planet depends on. These ecosystems provide clean water to the world, among other critical services. Unfortunately, these ecosystems in many parts of Africa are facing increasing threats and pressures. Population growth, poorly-planned infrastructure development, urbanization and climate change are some of the stresses on freshwater biodiversity. Many areas of Africa lack the supply and provision of clean water, sanitation and hygiene that are also central to the functioning of a healthy and vibrant ecosystem.

Global initiatives, such as the Sustainable Development Goal 6, recognize the need for clean water and sanitation for all people. In addressing the inter-rated challenges of freshwater ecosystem conservation and WASH issues, ABCG has been working on the integration of FW-WASH to reduce watershed degradation and pollution, and thereby contributing to the conservation of freshwater ecosystems, improving efficient use of diminishing water resources and improving human health.

Since 2015, ABCG members Conservation International its affiliate Conservation South Africa, and the Jane Goodall Institute in Uganda have been piloting projects on FW-WASH integration. In South Africa, the team has been working in Alfred Nzo District Municipality of South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province, whereas in Uganda they have been working in the local villages in the Albertine rift region of Hoima and Masindi Districts, also known as the Budongo-Bugoma Corridor.

Over the last 3 years, the project has made great strides in building the capacity of local communities in Uganda and South Africa to protect and restore freshwater sources and in improving sanitation practices. “In this current phase (2019-2020) of the project we are trying to understand what we are doing on the ground as conservation activities, aimed at improving human health through the protection of freshwater sources, with structures and governance that can support and enable the long term protection of this precious resource for people and nature,” says Colleen Sorto, Director, Development Partnerships – Conservation International / Task Lead, ABCG FW-WASH Integration.

ABCG FW-WASH Advocacy Workshop SA Participants 2019

In July 2019, project team members from Uganda and South Africa took part in a four-day advocacy strategy planning training in Durban, South Africa and Kampala, Uganda respectively. ABCG partnered with IRC, a Dutch-based WASH NGO, to adapt their advocacy training materials into a Training-of-Trainers Methodology for projects that integrate freshwater conservation and WASH.

Elynn Walter, International Advocacy Expert / Lead US Partnerships at IRC, offers, “the ABCG project is building on the field experiences gathered to develop its advocacy strategies in order to better influence policy, funding and planning decisions”.

“Advocacy is meant to support already existing work and is not meant to stand out alone. Advocacy is borne from existing work as a tool to allow greater impact on the existing work and on a larger scale.”

An area that at often times is not well defined and outlined in programmatic work, the advocacy training provided team members the opportunity to review and create their advocacy strategies making them more efficient. Participants learned how to better engage with stakeholders in order to influence them towards the adoption of integrated FW-WASH practices. They also learned how to relay messages in a more strategic and influential manner.

While advocating, “often times you only have 30 seconds of someone’s time, know what to ask and use that time wisely,” Elynn Walter.

Through the use of advocacy, ABCG intends to advance the adoption of FW-WASH approaches that are critical for the health of humans and freshwater conservation.

Click below to watch ABCG project members and partners speak about advocacy strategy planning for FW-WASH approaches:

First Meeting of the Open-ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. Photo by IISD/ENB | Diego Noguera

A New Opportunity to Reverse Nature Loss: First Meeting of the Open-ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework

First Meeting of the Open-ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. Photo by IISD/ENB | Diego NogueraThe first meeting of the Open-ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework was held at the United Nations offices in Nairobi, Kenya, from August, 27-30 2019. This meeting marked the formal start of discussions towards a new global biodiversity framework post-2020, with the current strategic plan (2010-2020) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) coming to an end next year.

Attention has been raised about the high rates of biodiversity loss that is undermining the quality of life on earth for all. Scientific reports such as the Global Assessment on Biodiversity by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on Climate Change and Land point to alarming destruction and degradation of nature. To reverse and halt this negative trend, biodiversity loss needs to be accorded the highest policy priority, in addition to a concerted and renewed effort by all sectors.

While addressing the over 300 participants including representatives from the government, non-government organizations, intergovernmental organizations, the private sector, indigenous people and the local community, youth, education and the United Nations, Ms Pasca Palmer, Executive Secretary of the CBD, noted the increase by the public, led by the youth, in calling for action to safeguard nature. ‘Much work remains before us to deliver an agreement in 2020 that will ultimately help bend the curve of biodiversity loss and facilitate the achievement of the 2050 Vision of the Convention to Live in Harmony in Nature,’ said Pasca. She called on all to take action in the fight against biodiversity loss, noting that the cost of inaction only keeps rising.

First Meeting of the Open-ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. Photo by IISD/ENB_Diego NogueraInger Anderson, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Environment Programme, noted that the framework will be crucial in eradicating biodiversity loss. She further observed that the process provides a great opportunity to learn, investigate and inquire why past targets have not been met in order to get it right in the new framework. Inger called on the buy in from sectors that sit outside biodiversity, such as agriculture, public works and infrastructure, as part of the solution. She challenged and encouraged experts to develop an ‘apex target’ for biodiversity, similar to the 1.5 degrees climate target, that can be used to measure biodiversity loss and better inform decision makers.

Over the four days of the conference, delegates deliberated on the desired components of a good framework. A road map on the development of the draft framework was also agreed upon.

The post-2020 framework will be launched at CBD 15 in October 2020 in Kunming, China. Expected to be ambitious and capable of yielding the desired goals, the framework is expected to move the global community to a phase where a real change in reversing the loss of biodiversity can be seen, while at the same time steering the planet on the right path towards achieving the 2050 Vision of Living in Harmony with Nature.

About CBD

Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, and entering into force in December 1993, the Convention on Biological Diversity is an international treaty for the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of the components of biodiversity and the equitable sharing of the benefits derived from the use of genetic resources. With 196 Parties, the Convention has near universal participation among countries. The Convention seeks to address all threats to biodiversity and ecosystem services, including threats from climate change, through scientific assessments, the development of tools, incentives and processes, the transfer of technologies and good practices and the full and active involvement of relevant stakeholders including indigenous and local communities, youth, NGOs, women and the business community.

First Meeting of the Open-ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. Photo by IISD/ENB_Diego Noguera

Read the IISD Reporting Services summary of the meeting: Summary of the First Meeting of the Open-ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework

Kilombero landscape

The Value of Collaboration in Securing Land and Resource Tenure Rights in Tanzania

Kilombero landscape
Tanzania is characterized by rich, diverse, and distinct terrestrial and marine ecosystems that play a pivotal role in sustaining livelihoods, as well as contributing to the country’s economy. However, there is rising pressure on these ecosystems due to an increase in human activities, in part brought on by an increasing population. According to the World Bank’s 2019 Country Environmental Analysis report, Tanzania hosts one of the largest poor populations in Africa, with approximately 21.3 million Tanzanians living below the global poverty line, many of which depend on natural resources for their livelihoods.

Access to land tenure is important in promoting sustainable livelihood as well as conservation of land and natural resources. A study by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations on Land Tenure and Rural Development indicates that strengthening land tenure increases participation and the empowerment of communities in adopting sustainable land use practices. These practices are essential to ensure effective self-management of the natural resource base.

Background of Tanzania’s Customary Land Governance

Before Tanzania’s land reforms in 1990, land policies and laws ignored customary land hence alienated communities from their lands. A study carried out by ABCG on Community Natural Resources Management in Tanzania, describes the Village Land Act as one that creates the basis for the administration and management of land at village level, and builds a framework upon which individual and collective land holding and management can occur. The reforms categorized land into village land, reserved land and general land.

Village Land is described as that which is owned by the village government, and is occupied and used by the villagers. Reserved land is set aside for special purposes including forestry and game reserve while general land refers to unoccupied or unused land that doesn’t fall under reserved land or village land. However, despite the provision of village land, customary rights have faced challenges in implementation and integration.

To formally occupy village land, the community needs a Certificate of Village Land, which defines village land boundaries. A Certificate of Customary Rights of Occupancy (CCRO) is then required to formally apportion parcels of village lands to either a group (group CCROs) or to individuals (household CCROs). Village Land Use Plans (VLUPs) are also issued to enable village governments to pass local by-laws that recognize, protect and respect the developed village land use management.

Impact of Collaboration

Four of ABCG’s members paired to work in partnership with stakeholders and the government to help local communities secure tenure rights in two landscapes. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) in the Greater Mahale Ecosystem (GME), in Western Tanzania, and the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) together with World Resources Institute (WRI), in the Kilombero cluster in southern Tanzania.

Establishing a Multistakeholder Platform

The Kilombero cluster in Southern Tanzania, is home to one of Africa’s largest wetlands and a prime agricultural location. Due to its fertile land, the landscape increasingly faces pressure by human activities of a growing population. Sustainable land use management is therefore vital in safeguarding the landscape’s resources. Fundamental to this, is land administration, which calls for secure land tenure rights.

However, according to Natural Resources Governance in Kilombero Assessment Report, individual and group customary rights in Kilombero cluster are largely undocumented, with the existence of a mix of formal and informal agreements about what local people can and cannot collect from Kilombero Nature Reserve.

In addition, households adjacent to the forest had limited information about the prevailing legal status of land. The issuance of CCROs and VLUPs are a lengthy and costly process that may discourage local communities from making applications. This report highlighted the need and importance of informing local communities on the importance of CCRO’s.

While assessing the status of land in two districts in Kilombero, AWF established that land surveys and titling had not been adequately undertaken in villages within the landscapes. The district had also been facing land conflicts between pastoralists and indigenous farmers, as well as conflicts between large agricultural farms and villagers. Highlighted was the lack of coordination between sectors involved in the process, and absence of proper data management and record keeping systems at the district land registry.

A multi-stakeholder platform to convene dialogues among diverse stakeholders at the landscape level was established by AWF and WRI. This platform served to balance the interests of all land users and inform policy makers at the national level on the effects of CCROs and VLUPs and land titling on land use management. This resulted in increased documentation of VLUPs and CCROs aimed at ensuring tenure security and eliminating land use and boundary conflict in the district.

Training on Land-use Planning 

Endowed by rich diverse ecosystem, the Greater Mahale Ecosystem in Western Tanzania faces similar challenges as those in the Kilombero cluster. Through the ABCG collaboration, TNC and JGI, supported the preparation and issuance of individual CCROs in five villages in 2018. TNC and JGI worked with Village Councils, District Land Officers, and Tanzania’s National Land Use Planning Commission (NLUPC) to provide training on CCRO issuance and VLUP processes, including mapping, creating village bylaws, and use of geographic information systems to improve data collection and data accuracy.

The Nature Conservancy successfully trained eight district staff on participatory land-use planning and management and more than 300 community members on the importance of land-use planning and CCROs. In two villages, Mgambazi and Rukoma, VLUPs were successfully reviewed and approved by the district authority.

In collaboration with villagers from Lubalisi, Ikubulu, and Rukoma villages, TNC helped to survey and map the village boundaries; following this, the VLUP reports from these three villages were approved by the NLUPC. Finally, a total of 3,000 individual CCROs were prepared of which 2,926 have been verified with the help of Uvinza District land experts.

JGI on the other hand trained 160 villagers in Vikonge on the issuance process. The training and sensitization sparked an interest on land owners as a further 20 land owners came forward to participate in CCROs issuance process.

Shaping Relevant Public Policy

To build a stronger evidence base on the value of tenure rights, JGI led and supported the research and publication of a report – Making Community Forest Enterprises Deliver for Livelihoods and Conservation in Tanzania.

Findings from this report formed the basis of a one-day National workshop on August 31, 2018,organized by the Community Forest Conservation Network of Tanzania (MJUMITA) under the theme “Creating an Enabling Environment for Community-Based Forest Enterprise in Village Land Forest Reserves in Tanzania”.

WRI on the other hand focused on disseminating research findings through formal presentations in conferences, direct conversations with policymakers and other stakeholders, and in research publications. These findings have been used to create awareness and to influence local and national land policies.

Creating Synergies for Greater Impact

Partnerships play a key role in ensuring adoption and sustainability of project activities, contributing to knowledge exchange, and improving capacity to cover a large conservation priority area.

Through these collaborations, ABCG members have been able to broker new partnerships and synergies with local communities, governments and other non-governmental organizations. Moreover, this collaborative process provides a broader platform for sharing best practices and project activities on cross-cutting issues both within ABCG member organizations and with other partners.

References >

Country Environmental Analysis report;

Making Community Forest Enterprises Deliver for Livelihoods and Conservation in Tanzania;

Natural Resource Governance in Kilombero Cluster and the SAGGOT Initiative;

Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group 2018 Annual Report;

Status of Land Use Planning, Land Tenure and Biodiversity Conservation: A Focus of Udzungwa-Magombera-Selous Landscape and Mngeta Corridor in Kilombero District;

Scramble for Land Rights: Reducing Inequity between Communities and Companies


2020 Bonn Challenge Deadline: What Does the Barometer Say?

Published by Landscape News

bb0beded-8f61-45f0-9073-2743fcf059aa.jpg‘The first Bonn Challenge milestone year is barely five months away. Launched by Germany and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2011, the challenge is a global commitment to restore 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested lands by 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030.

‘So how is it coming along? Pledges to restore degraded lands have surpassed the 150 million hectare mark. The Bonn Challenge website lists commitments from 57 countries and regions to restore 170.43 million hectares. However, it’s hard to tell how many hectares in total have been restored or are being restored.

‘In a recent assessment of the Bonn Challenge, IUCN noted that nearly 71.11 million hectares of land were under restoration as of 2018. This meets 47.4 percent of the total Bonn Challenge target for 2020.

‘However, these numbers only come from 19 regions and countries out of the 57 that committed to the challenge. These countries used a progress-tracking protocol and tool developed by IUCN for identifying, assessing and tracking action on the Bonn Challenge commitments.

‘Brazil, El Salvador, Rwanda, the U.S. and the Mexican state of Quintana Roo piloted an in-depth version of the reporting protocol in 2018, and their reports feed data into the Bonn Challenge Barometer, a website that shows each country’s progress.

‘The Barometer focuses on both the results of restoration interventions such as hectares, jobs generated, carbon sequestered, biodiversity areas enhanced, and also the required conditions behind it, such as the policies a government has passed and the funding it has allocated or secured.

“These countries reported a combined 27.835 million hectares under restoration as of 2018, which is 89 percent of their total pledged area of 30.7 million hectares. Bonn Challenge–related forest landscape restoration programs in these countries created 354,000 long- and short-term jobs. They also sequestered 1.379 billion tons of carbon dioxide and generated and an average investment per hectare of at least USD 235.

‘Altogether, these 19 countries have collectively pledged a total of 97 million hectares, 71.11 million hectares (73 percent) of which were under restoration as of 2018.

‘The Barometer has been “a game changer in many ways,” says Radhika Dave, IUCN senior program officer. “For example, it’s triggered dialogues between people who wouldn’t normally interact with each other but who all have a role to play in delivering restoration action – across sectors, ministries and different types of stakeholders.”

The Bonn Challenge is a global effort to bring 150 million of hectares of deforested and degraded land into restoration by 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030,(

Read the entire article: 2020 is the first Bonn Challenge deadline. What does the Barometer say?  August 13, 2019

ABCG FW-WASH community meeting in Uganda by JGI Uganda

6 Tips for Achieving Greater Results in Community Engagement Activities

ABCG FW-WASH community meeting in Uganda by JGI UgandaThe Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group (ABCG) has been engaging the local community in Uganda’s Albertine rift region of Hoima and Masindi District’s in building their capacity to conserve freshwater resources and improving sanitation and hygiene. ABCG through implementing member, the Jane Goodall Institute, has been developing innovations that seek to restore water sources and improve water supply in this region.

Working closely with the local government and key stakeholders of these districts, the Jane Goodall Institute supported development and enactment, in September 2018, of the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) by-laws. These by-laws provide guidelines to the community on how to carry out their activities in ways that will improve their health status as well as strengthen environment conservation.

Here are six keys factors to consider when working on integrating freshwater resources conservation and WASH for influencing policy and attain greater results.

  1. Get your facts and data: Conducting a baseline to show the level of hygiene and sanitation status within communities is necessary in order to know what measures are required, where, by whom, and what would be most effective with the available resources.
  2. Get buy in: Its critical to work together with the community members, the local government and all other stakeholders in the implementation of FW-WASH activities as they are custodians of natural resources. Without their commitment, interventions are bound to fail.
  3. Engage with your stakeholders: It’s not only sufficient to get buy-in, but regular consultative meetings with the communities and local leaders are necessary in the development of any recommendations and policies. Grassroots meetings and radio shows, as those conducted in the project, are necessary in providing inputs and feedback on recommendations and any policy intervention.
  4. Create awareness and educate: Develop education awareness materials on sanitation and hygiene that can be used by the community members, schools, and other target stakeholders on the recommended behavior change.
  5. Test: Initiatives to evaluate measures such a knowledge, attitude, and practices of pupils and community members on WASH related issues should be conducted to test effectiveness of the approach. These are important to show which interventions are yielding results and which are not. When rolled out in this project for example, it emphasized the need for increasing latrine coverage, hand washing, and maintenance of existing water sources, both outside and in the forest.
  6. Advocate for smart policy: Interventions that seek to restore natural resources usually take a long time to show results. Developing a set of recommendations and policies that would need to be adopted by the communities would support to ensure that agreed interventions are adhered to and continue to be adopted by the current and future generations.

Other project activities include: renovation of protected springs, construction of community rain water harvest points, conserving water sources through tree planting and other measures, training of water management committees, and school/community sanitation campaigns. These activities contribute to the reduction of watershed degradation and pollution, thereby improving the health of freshwater ecosystems.

About ABCG Freshwater Conservation and WASH activities

ABCG is working to reduce watershed degradation and pollution to increase the health of watershed ecosystems and species by linking freshwater conservation, access and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene. Pilot projects in Uganda and South Africa, examine the effectiveness of implementing integrated development and conservation projects from a freshwater ecosystems perspective. Our activities are contributing to the conservation of freshwater ecosystems and improving efficient use of diminishing water resources due to climate change, that lead to increased access to potable water and improved human health.

Click here to view the WASH Task Group Fact Sheet>

Photo: Women from Siiba Village, Masindi Distict, Uganda collecting water from Siiba spring which was rehabilitated through ABCG project. Photo Credit: Brenda Mirembe, the Jane Goodall Institute. 

Zebras in Amboseli by Jordi Fernandez unsplash

News and Events Resources Roundup

Zebras in Amboseli by Jordi Fernandez unsplashOur July News Digest is a roundup of news and events in the past quarter (April, May, June). Featured in the digest are ABCG’s successes in conserving nature and improving the wellbeing of communitiy members, during the period 2015-2018 through the collective efforts of our members and partners. In the same vein of successes stories, we also highlight another conservation milestone from one of Africa’s largest wildlife preserve, Niassa reserve, that marked a year without a single elephant found killed by poachers! 

This roundup also includes recorded webinars of the talks that we hosted in the last quarter on topics such as: Family Planning and its Relevance to Conservation, Strategies for Ensuring Wildlife and Communities Co-existence, How Experts are Reversing the Rhino Population Decline in Serengeti, and The Charisma of Cranes in Promoting Environment Management and Sustainable Livelihood. The talks were given by experts from different conservation organizations.

Healthy People Healthier Planet - Why Family Planning is Relevant to Conservation by Guilia Besana

Family Planning and its Relevance to Conservation

Healthy People Healthier Planet - Why Family Planning is Relevant to Conservation by Guilia Besana

Family planning is giving individuals a choice to decide if and/or when they would want to have children. This choice is made possible through the use of contraceptives. However, according to World Health Organization, 214 million women of reproductive age in developing countries who want to avoid pregnancy are not using a modern contraceptive method.

The role that contraception plays on conservation and the challenges to implementation of its use in Tanzania were explained by Guilia Besana, Family Planning Advisor, The Nature Conservancy – Arusha, Tanzania. Guilia was speaking at an Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group’s speaker series event held on June 20, 2019 at The Nature Conservancy in Washington DC.

While people and the planet are interconnected, there has been an imbalance on what nature gives and what humans take. This imbalance is mainly contributed by population growth, said Guilia. As population growth increases, the demand for land and water increases.

Family Planning as the solution

A report by United Nations on World Contraception Day indicates that worldwide, more than 41% of all pregnancies that occur each year are unintended and nearly half of these unplanned pregnancies end in abortion. Voluntary family planning goes a long way in helping women and men secure their rights to decide freely, and for themselves, whether, when, and how many children they want to have, said Guilia. Its impact on the quality of life of women include avoiding health risks, nutritional depletion as well as contributing to the empowerment of women. By controlling population growth, the use of contraception contributes to poverty reduction and improve nutritional outcomes as well as preventing further HIV/AIDS transmission. On infants, it helps alleviate malnutrition by increasing the likelihood of being breastfed as well as increases their chances of being educated, explained Guilia.

With the increase in pressure on environment, contraception can be a solution to sustainable access to water and other natural resources without much competition. It also helps in mitigating unhealthy interaction with the nature hence contributes in curbing deforestation. This sums up to a contribution in addressing climate change.

Challenges in implementation

While family planning offers a range of solutions to different issues, there has been major challenges in the implementation of the same. Nearly half of the land in Tanzania is covered by forest and woodlands of which 1/3 of it is protected, explained Guilia. Over 80% of the country’s economy depends on the environment.

Current Tanzania population is at 60 million of which 62% of the population is under 24 years of age with 70% of the population living in rural areas where access to contraception is limited. With unmet need for family planning stagnating between 24-26% from 1999, the contraceptive prevalence rate among married women is 32% with a total fertility rate of 5.2 in 2006, explained Gulia.

Major resistance to adoption occur as a result of conflicting messaging majorly because of fragmented government support. This is usually due to limited/lack of a uniform framework for implementation between local governments and the national government. Competing priorities is another challenge to implementation that comes as a result of limited resources hence the need to address immediate health needs such as HIV/AIDS and maternal health.

Other challenges include, traditional beliefs and social norms such as early marriage and the number of children a woman is expected to bear, myths and misconceptions such as pills can cause cancer and infertility, stock out of the commodities which can cause discontinuation, and prioritization of lifesaving drugs by the community and shortages of health care professionals.

For in-depth information,

Click to download the slide presentation>

Click to listen to the webinar recording>

Speaker bio
Giulia Besana, Family Planning Advisor, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) – Arusha, Tanzania
Giulia’s passion lies in improving the lives of mothers and children starting with Eastern Africa where she was born and brought up. She holds an MSc in Reproductive and Sexual Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and has over ten years of experience working in the reproductive health sphere.
She first started her career with Pathfinder International in Tanzania. She has also worked for Jhpiego, Oxford Policy Management, President’s Malaria Initiative, Impact and other smaller organizations in the area of monitoring and evaluation, research, capacity building, program planning and fundraising. Prior to her position with TNC, Giulia co-founded Toto health Tanzania, a social enterprise with the mission of making motherhood a safe and joyful experience for mothers, parents, and caregivers. Giulia joined TNC in February 2019 and is very excited to be part of TNC’s efforts to bridge the gap between family planning and conservation.

2018 Annual Report Front Page Image

2018 Annual Report

 Front Page ImageThe highlights of our include implementation milestones and inspiring success stories from our five thematic working groups:

1. Land and Resource Tenure Rights
2. Land Use Management
3. Managing Global Change Impacts
4. Global Health Linkages to Conservation: Population Health and Environment; Water Sanitation and Hygiene
5. Emerging Issues

These stories demonstrate how through collective learning and action, we can arrive at practical solutions to advance conservation practice in order to ensure lasting benefits for people and nature. The lessons learned presented in this report offer us opportunities to reflect and adjust our approach. We hope that they will be useful in efforts to improve, scale and replicate best practices.

Read these success stories in our recent blog series: Nature Protected and Lives Impacted: ABCG Success Stories