Community interview, Maasai Mara, Kenya. Photo Credit: Nikhil Advani, WWF

Climate Change Updates: Supporting Communities Adapt to Climate Change

Community interview, Maasai Mara, Kenya. Photo Credit: Nikhil Advani, WWFClimate change continues to be a major threat facing the world. The Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group (ABCG) has been documenting human responses to climate change and their impacts on biodiversity, through its thematic working group on Managing Global Change Impacts on Biodiversity. Through this activity, we are aiming to have a better understanding on the impacts of climate change on livelihoods, how communities responses to climate change are affecting biodiversity, and provide opportunities to reduce human vulnerability to climate change while at the same time benefitting biodiversity. Since 2016, ABCG and partners have conducted over 600 interviews in communities engaged in farming, fishing and pastoralism across 10 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Cameroon, Gabon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Namibia, Madagascar, Mozambique and Uganda.

Country Reports

Facing declining rainfall, warming temperatures and shifting seasonal patterns, local pastoralist communities in Kenya have adopted several coping techniques to deal with loss of livelihood and resource scarcity due to climate change. Some of these coping strategies include, selling livestock, traveling to other areas such as parks/reserves in search of natural resources, fencing property, and pursuing alternative livelihoods. Some of these responses adversely impact biodiversity by increasing rates of human wildlife conflict, encroaching on habitat, and restricting wildlife movement.

Similarly, in Madagascar, decreasing rainfall and changes in the timing of seasons have led to reduced abundance of fish, crop failure, reduced availability of freshwater resources and increased prevalence of disease among other impacts. Many of the strategies that people have turned to in order to cope with climate change pose potential threats to marine and forest ecosystems. These include destructive fishing practices involving the use of illegal gear and fishing in ecologically sensitive areas, such as mangrove channels. Several respondents also note that farmers have turned to fishing to cope with poor crop yields. Increased reliance on forests for logging, hunting, and foraging for wild foods was also frequently cited in the responses, leading to deforestation and forest degradation.

Results from interviews with local communities show that 35% of the total adaptation responses conducted by local communities have a negative impact on biodiversity. Many of these spontaneous responses to climate change also reduce communities’ resilience and the ability to adapt to changing future conditions.

Download other country summaries on the World Wildlife Fund’s Climate Crowd website.

Helping Communities Adapt

In 2019, ABCG began reporting back these findings to the communities to inform communities of the impact of their adaptation responses to the biodiversity. At these reporting back sessions, best practices that can support communities to adapt livelihoods to climate change with minimal impact to biodiversity were discussed. ABCG further worked with communities in selected countries to identify livelihood intervention projects that will support communities to mitigate or reduce these negative impacts of climate change while at the same time realizing positive benefits to biodiversity. ABCG will work with these communities to provide capacity and resources in the implementation of the selected projects in 2020.

Participatory Land Use PlanningRecent Conservation International Publication: Indicators to Measure the Adaptation Outcomes of Ecosystem-Based Adaptation

This paper published in the journal, Climatic Change, by Donatti et. al, identifies the outcomes and indicators that can be used to track the adaptation benefits provided by nature. Nature can provide many benefits to people, including helping them adapt to the negative impacts of climate change. Ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) refers to the conservation, restoration, and sustainable management of ecosystems, ecosystem processes, and biodiversity to address the impacts of climate change on people’s lives and livelihoods.

The range of adaptation outcomes precludes the use of a single common indicator to measure adaptation outcomes in the same way that mitigation is measured (i.e., in terms of avoided greenhouse gases emissions). In the open access paper “Indicators to measure the climate change adaptation outcomes of Ecosystem-based adaptation”, 13 adaptation outcomes have been identified that can be achieved through EbA and seven indicators to monitor the success of EbA in achieving adaptation outcomes.

A villager in Ntola is photographed after completing the ABCG WASH household survey. Pcredit CI_Patrick Nease

Integrating Gender and Vulnerable Populations in Natural Resource Management

A villager in Ntola is photographed after completing the ABCG WASH household survey. Pcredit CI_Patrick NeaseWomen play critical land and natural resource management roles. According to a 2017 ABCG One Health report, “based on gender differentiated roles, women are primarily responsible for care work that occurs in the domain of the home, including cooking, cleaning and caring for children and the elderly. Their high influence over water usage at the household level means they are most responsible for seeking and securing water resources. Women all over the world experience a far greater burden than male counterparts in terms of water collection, storage, and protection”.

However, these roles are typically unrecognized or undervalued. Minorities and disadvantaged groups are integral to local conservation constituencies. Therefore, the role of these groups is especially important to consider in the construction of sustainable conservation strategies.

In working to ensure that women’s role are fully recognized, ABCG is employing a participatory approach that seeks to provide improved access to opportunities (meetings, workshops, decision making on natural resource use, etc.) for women and vulnerable groups. This includes ensuring that gender considerations are included in project design and implementation. By integrating gender dimensions in all thematic and cross-cutting program components, ABCG aims to more explicitly address the issues that limit the ability of women and vulnerable populations to participate fully in conservation and natural resource management.

ABCG’s gender thematic activities include two objectives, first, to promote a favorable institutional and policy environment for mainstreaming gender equality and social inclusion in biodiversity conservation, and second, to enhance capacity of partners and stakeholders to enable women and socially excluded groups to claim their rights in natural resource management.

In order to ensure that this pillar of work is efficiently addressed throughout all working groups, an ABCG task force with members from Conservational International, the Jane Goodall Institute and World Wildlife Fund organized a workshop in August 2019. The workshops covered the following areas:

  • Know basic concepts of gender (What)
  • Understand the role of gender in effectiveness and sustainability of conservation initiatives (Why)
  • Know the process of effective incorporation of gender at the design and implementation phases of a project (How)
  • Describe how basic gender concepts relate to ABCG overall goal and respective task objectives – land use planning, climate change, community-based forestry, and global health (freshwater conservation and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene and Population, Health and Environment)
  • Identify gender integration process and specific activities per task
  • Select one gender indicator per task group

In addition, ABCG is working to see that gender indicator are incorporated into its activities. These indicators are built around the learning questions: Does the increased focus on gender-related activities during work planning, monitoring and team training, lead to an increase in gender integration of critical actors/stakeholders in project activities? And, Does the increased representation by women in project activities lead to improve women leadership to get involved in decision-making roles in community-based groups/committees/others, etc.

Gender is an important component of development interventions because of the different roles and responsibilities men and women have in the household and community, and the different needs, access and control to the different natural resources. The integration of women’s needs and input within conservation is therefore critical to achieving successful outcomes.

ABCG PHE Experts Workshop held at WWF-US November 21 2019

A Strategic Holistic Approach to Meeting Peoples Needs for Health for Greater Environmental and Social Impact

There are strong linkages between biodiversity conservation and human health, the health of domestic animals, and ecosystem health. People and nature co-exist together with numerous benefits recorded from having a harmonious relationship. Focusing on the synergies between human health and ecosystem health and including a wide spectrum of development and conservation targets, such as the sustainable management of natural resources, improved livelihoods, food security, and nutrition, can lead to more effective biodiversity conservation while simultaneously improving conditions for local people.

The Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group (ABCG) Population, Health and Environment (PHE) working group provides methodological guidance to advance a vision that incorporates health outcomes into biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.

On November 21, 2019, PHE members planned a PHE Experts meeting in Washington USA. More than 20 health, development and conservation experts provided insights, research and evidence on the benefits of integrated Population, Health and Environment programs for the African context, recognizing that human population growth is a main threat to biodiversity loss in sub-Saharan Africa.

ABCG PHE Experts Workshop held at WWF-US November 21 2019The objectives of the meeting were to better articulate the key assumptions that could be tested over time and/or learning questions that could be tracked and/or ways of measuring the concept and/or best practices on how to effectively implement such complex projects. The group explored key questions about why PHE integration is so important to address human population growth and conservation and how to better measure the benefits or value added of these approaches. The experts shared lessons from projects in Madagascar and Tanzania about how communities are adopting better conservation or natural resource management practices if they are integrated with family planning and PHE approaches.

Three presentations framed the current thinking on PHE approaches:

  • Kristen Patterson from Population Reference Bureau gave an overview of the PACE Project’s accomplishments providing country support to high priority family planning countries with capacity building, knowledge management, and policy advocacy, which complement the ABCG PHE task objectives.
  • Laura Robson from Blue Ventures presented a brief overview of their latest research on PHE in Madagascar, which unpacked assumptions around PHE programming in coastal environments.
  • Cheryl Margoluis from Pathfinder International shared lessons from the PHE work in Tanzania about how communities will adopt better conservation or natural resource management practices if they are integrated with family planning and PHE approaches.

Following the presentations, the group explored one of the fundamental assumptions of the value of PHE projects – that there are synergistic benefits to implementing and cross-sectoral “integrated” approach to meet human and ecosystem health outcomes. Over the past 20 years, many health and conservation organizations have implemented PHE projects and conducted research to demonstrate these benefits or value added. Nevertheless, both conservation community and donor agencies are recognizing a consistent knowledge gap and lack of consensus on why we integrate health activities into conservation projects; what added benefits are expected (and are realistic), and how exactly integrated PHE leads to improved conservation outcomes (the Theory of Change).

Participants agreed by the end of the workshop to use the following definition for developing the ABCG PHE reference sheet in 2020. “A strategic holistic approach to meeting people’s needs for health including reproductive health and maintaining restoring ecosystem services for greater environmental and social impact at multiple levels”.

Uganda primates photo credit Nina R on Flickr

The Pearl of Africa: Uganda’s Future Through the Lens of Conservation

Uganda primates photo credit Nina R on FlickrLocated in East Africa, Uganda is a country that is endowed with rich biodiversity. It is among the 10 most biodiverse countries in the world and carries about 40% of the continent’s mammal species with half of the world’s mountain gorillas found in Uganda. The country is home to over half of all the 2000 bird species in Africa’s bird species making it a birder’s paradise.

Like in many parts of the continent and across the globe, the country’s rich flora and fauna faces environment management challenges that threaten the existence of these resources. The leading threat is human wildlife conflict that results to the loss of lives and injures to both humans and wildlife. Other threats include, human wildlife conflict, increasing human population at a rate of 3.3 % per annum, high poverty level, and industrialization including oil discovery in the country.

Sudi Bamulesewa, African Wildlife Foundation Uganda Country Director provided an overview of how the African Wildlife Foundation with a vision to ensure that wildlife and wild lands thrive in modern Africa, in Uganda, is applying a holistic large landscape approach that will see its biodiversity thriving. Sudi was speaking at an Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group speaker series event held on November 14, 2019.

This approach includes activities aimed at building capacity of government institutions in the protection of biodiversity, working on tourism development, supporting communities adjacent to protected areas through education, and agro- based enterprises and ecotourism in a bid to see that communities living with wildlife benefit from biodiversity.

For more information, click to listen to the event’s webinar recording>

About the speaker

As AWF’s Uganda Country Director, Sudi oversees the successful implementation of programs in Uganda, works with AWF senior management to design new programs and grows AWF’s conservation and development portfolio in Uganda.

Sudi holds an MSc. Degree in Forestry for Rural Development (Twente University Institute of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation – ITC, the Netherlands), and a Post Graduate Diploma in Institutional Management (Uganda Management Institute, Kampala, Uganda).

Sudi started his professional career back in 1992 as an Agronomist with Uganda Tea Growers Cooperation. He later joined Uganda Local Government as District Environment Officer (Jinja District). In 2001, Sudi joined the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Uganda where he served for a period of 13 years, first as Program Management Specialist in the Economic Growth Office, and later on as Team Leader for the Environment and Natural Resources Management Unit. Prior to joining AWF-Uganda, Sudi was managing Director of ABEAT Associates (U) Ltd, a private agribusiness and forestry enterprise development firm.

Land owners registering land for lease to conservancy for 25 years_pcredit Daniel Sopia_MMWCA

Scaling Up Community Conservation In The Greater Mara Ecosystem

Land owners registering land for lease to conservancy for 25 years_pcredit Daniel Sopia_MMWCA

The Mara-Serengeti Ecosystem in Tanzania and Kenya is an important ecosystem area that is estimated to carry about 40% of Africa’s remaining large mammals. The Greater Maasai Mara contains 25% of the ecosystems larger mammals despite making up only .05% of Kenya’s land mass. This figures were being shared by Daniel Sopia, the CEO Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancies Association (MMWCA) at a recent Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group speaker series event held on October 29, 2019. Living harmoniously with the wildlife in the Greater Maasai Mara, are hundreds of thousands of the Maasia population who are traditional pastoralists.

Daniel noted that despite its importance, over half of the area in this ecosystem is unprotected. This exposes the wild animals to high threats as a result of habitat loss due to land privatization, fencing for agriculture or alternative land use, human-wildlife conflict and other land use pressures.

The adjacent land owned by local communities form key dispersal and diversity areas and are designated as Wildlife Conservancies that surround the National Reserve. Daniel’s presentation noted that a conservancy pools hundreds of individually owned land parcels into larger wildlife, tourisms and livestock management entities. Wildlife conservancies play a critical role in conserving the land and securing it from land conversion that lead to habitat loss and ensures the prosperity of biodiversity and wildlife in the region.

MMWCA has been in operation since 2014 and was formed as a membership organization for current and future wildlife conservancies in the Greater Maasai Mara. MMWCA has a mandate from landowners and tourism parties to play an overarching coordination role for the Greater Mara Ecosystem stakeholders. The association activities involve sustaining and creating Mara Conservancies, conservancy governance and transparency, community advocacy and awareness, gender education, sustainable revenue development and local capacity building.

This model has resulted to numerous benefit for wildlife, livestock and humans. Among these benefits include guaranteed monthly income for the communities, grass banks that allow land owners to access grazing in the conservancy, conservation where land and resources are conserved, employment through access to jobs in the tourism industry and conservation and development projects including health centers, water, classrooms and road.

For more about this model, download and listen to the webinar recording:  – audio recording

Click to download the slide presentation>

About the speaker
Daniel Sopia, MMWCADaniel Sopia is an accomplished leader in conservation, with a track record of working with local communities to protect Kenya’s diverse ecosystems. He brings to MMWCA a great mix of leadership, inspiration, and passion for conservation. He possesses management experience in the conservation and tourism sectors. He serves on the Board of Greater Mara Trust/Greater Mara Management Limited as well as the Board of the Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association representing the Maasai Mara region. As a founder member, Daniel has done a remarkable job with MMWCA’s formation, firstly as the Chairperson of the Conservancies Council prior to joining the Secretariat as Chief Programs Officer then CEO. Daniel is a Silver rated Professional Tour Guide who left active tour guiding to help set up Olare Motorogi Community Conservancy Trust in Maasai Mara. He co-steered Olare Motorogi Conservancy as a Director from 2006 to 2008, a Trustee and as a Community Development Manager in the year 2013. He has also served in the capacities of Board Member for Olare Motorogi Conservancy and Vice Chair of Olpurkel Company Limited, the Management Company managing the conservancy. Currently, Daniel has also been appointed as a Member of the Human-Wildlife Compensation Schemes Task Force.

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