Sustained Policy Action needed to end Indonesia Haze

Indonesia fires are an annual event that occurs during the dry season. The fires are so intense, resulting in haze that affects neighboring countries -Singapore and Malaysia. Every fire outbreak is met with equal amount of gusto in political activities and discussions on how to counter the episode. But this energy seem to die off as soon as the rains start and the fire goes off.

The ASB Partnership research in Indonesia over the past twenty years points to the need for sustained urgent action beyond the fire episodes as a way to bring a permanent end to the fire and the haze. Policy action relating to land use decisions and rights are recommended.  These include:

  • Focus on the need to shift the costs to, and benefits from, those who use fire to clear forests
  • Serious law enforcement strategies that include public naming and shaming as well as prosecutions
  • Clarity on customary land rights 'adat' claims

Read full blog here

Download new Policy Brief: Stopping haze when it rains: lessons learnt in 20 years of Alternatives to Slash-and-Burn research in Indonesia

Read Book: Partnership in the Tropical Forest Margins; a 20-Year Journey in search of Alternatives to Slash-and-Burn

Climate-smart landscapes: Lessons from the gestion de terroirs approach

By Florence Bernard

Climate-smart landscapes are an emerging concept that captures integration of actions and processes in a Participatory community meeting, Niger. Photo credit:Mahamane Larwanougiven place. This integration is geared towards reducing emissions and enhancing ability to cope with already existing negative effects of climate change while at the same time pursuing multiple social, economic and environmental objectives.

In the past, integrated management initiatives have shared similar ambition and provide lessons for implementation.

In a chapter of a new book titled Climate-Smart Landscapes: Multifunctionality in Practice, we study the example of gestion de terroirs (GT), which was an integrated management approach applied in French speaking African countries in the 1990’s.

The GT approach was meant to advance goals related to food production, ecosystem conservation and rural livelihoods on a socially and geographically defined space – the so-called ‘terroir’. It shared a number of similar features with climate-smart landscapes in terms of being a multisectoral, multidisciplinary and multistakeholder approach.

A number of key limitations, challenges and experiences from the GT approach offer lessons for the climate-smart landscape approach.

One limitation of the GT approach was that the geographical area was identified almost exclusively in relation with the practice of agriculture, ignoring other important livelihoods such as pastoralism. A key lesson here is that it should not be assumed that community interests are uniform at the expense of complex social, economic and cultural factors that affect how local communities can sustainably use natural resources.

Both the GT and climate-smart landscapes approaches use a bottom-up management style and are community-driven, so multi-stakeholder planning is a key element. However, experiences with the GT implementation have at times not achieved proper balance in participation between the local communities, project staff and government agency representatives, with local communities being overlooked in technical debates. Another weakness was lack of balance of interests among stakeholders in the local community due as GT committees seemed to be dominated by local elites to the exclusion of the poorest and most marginalized rural populations. According to the study, in order to avoid such pitfalls, both composition and method of inclusion need to be considered with caution to ensure effective representation of all stakeholder groups.

Additionally, effective decentralized governance over land resources is described as a central feature of the GT approach. However, since the legislation never conferred legal right to community-based institutions to exercise public authority over their resources, there has been a huge gap between theory and the reality. As such, if decentralized governance is to happen within climate-smart landscape approaches, there will first need to be clear policies outlining who has the authority to make decisions on resources as well as more reflection on how to transfer authority from central government authorities to local government staff, and from government structures to local populations.

Another issue that GT implementation shed light on, was that attempts for clarifying rights and resource tenure have sometimes exacerbated existing or latent land-use conflicts, the concept of ‘terroir’ being sometimes misinterpreted as ‘for locals only’ and instrumentalized to exclude others in the name of local heritage. To avoid this challenge, there is need for very carefully negotiated processes and a legitimate conflict resolution and recourse system that is supported by an improved justice system, accessible courts, and devolved conciliation powers to local authorities or customary chiefs.

Last but not least, while most GT programmes took place in a policy and institutional vacuum resulting in very limited impact on influencing wider institutional and policy issues, there is need for acknowledging climate-smart landscape approaches within national decision-making processes. Sustainability of the climate-smart landscape approach will require supportive policies at multiple scales.

The study is a book chapter in a book titled Climate-Smart Landscapes: Multifunctionality in Practice which can be accessed here.

Bernard, F. (2015). What can climate-smart agricultural landscapes learn from the gestion de terroirs approach? In Minang, P. A., van Noordwijk, M., Freeman, O. E., Mbow, C., de Leeuw, J., & Catacutan, D. (Eds.) Climate-Smart Landscapes: Multifunctionality in Practice, 51-61. Nairobi, Kenya: World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF).




Climate-smart landscapes make business sense to the private sector

By Elizabeth Kahurani

The private sector is an important actor with great potential to inject financial resources, technology and expertise into climate smart initiatives that target sustainable development.

These private companies are looking into ways and strategies for effective engagement out of realization that their existence depends on finite ecosystem services; and also due to an increase in awareness among consumers who demand environmental accountability in the production process, as well as the need to maintain good company reputation through social responsibility.

This not withstanding, their main drive is to make profit, and as such, rules of engagement with these private entities have to make business sense.Vision for Change demonstration plots in Kragui in Côte d’Ivoire. The project aims to revitalise cocoa using a landscape approach that also targets to improve the environment, social aspects and livelihoods. Photo credit: World Agroforestry Centre

In a new book Climate-Smart Landscapes: Multifunctionality in Practice to be released this week on the sidelines of UNFCCC COP 20 in Lima, Peru, three chapters expound on private sector involvement in landscape approaches using case studies that highlight among others the need to i) present business case studies to motivate the private sector, ii) enhance sustainability in agriculture supply chains and iii) use production standards and certification as a means to private sector engagement in integrated landscape management approach.

Presenting a business case will entail a shift from the current focus of analyzing environmental costs exclusively, to developing analytical tools, methodologies and frameworks that account for both the natural capital and the business financial goals. It is a process that involves integrating ecosystem services analysis with frameworks that drive corporate decision making strategies.

Examples of initiatives making strides in this direction include the Natural Capital Coalition guide that recommends ways accountants can frame risks and opportunities in business terms and embed natural capital into corporate decision-making. “There is also the British American Tobacco Biodiversity Partnership that has developed the Biodiversity Risk and Opportunity Assessment (BROA) tool to assess risks and opportunities of depending on biodiversity and ecosystem services at the landscape scale for companies with agricultural supply chains,” says Dr Namirembe.

“However, to remain viable, such holistic analysis of both natural and business capital needs to be accompanied by conducive policy regulations and institutional frameworks,” says Dr Sara Namirembe of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)

She explains this in the context of Sasumua water shed in Kenya.  “Although a conducive business case exists (about $122,924/year Net Present Value) for Nairobi City Water Company (NWCS) to use payment of ecosystem services with upland farmers to reduce sedimentation of the Sasumua reservoir, it cannot be operationalized because of barriers in existing legal and institutional frameworks. NWCS already pays watershed management fees to the Water Resource Management Authority. Although a section of consumers in Nairobi were willing to pay more in their water bill to finance watershed conservation, the mandate to increase tariffs and is not the NWSC, but with the water services regulatory board.”

Sustainable business agricultural supply chains

A Landscape approach can be useful in promoting sustainability in business supply chains particularly within the agriculture sector. Supply chains refers to all those factors, processes and actors involved from the production, all through to the consumption of goods and services. A landscape approach to such a system would make the businesses involved look beyond their unit area of production and the profits thereof to encompass economic, environmental, social and other livelihood aspects. It would mean balancing the need for high production with reducing negative impacts on the environment; avoiding child labor; and ensuring farmers get higher wages for their produce.

“Business supply chains should seek a landscape approach as it not only assures sustainability but it also helps them mitigate reputational and operational risks,” says Dr Amos Gyau of ICRAF. “By supporting a sustainable ecosystem from the production source, they gain consumer confidence and promote continuous supply of high quality products. Failure to maintain natural capital at source leads to poor quality and eventual depletion of raw materials,” he adds.

Another important benefit of embracing landscape approach in supply chains is that it creates space to form new partnerships and establish collaborations with the public sector and other players in a way that spreads risks and complements efforts.

The Vision for Change (V4C) project financed by Mars Inc. and implemented by ICRAF is one model using landscape approach towards business supply chain sustainability. It aims to revitalize the cocoa sector in Côte d’Ivoire while at the same time addressing environmental concerns by promoting trees on farms; and social aspects by eliminating child labor and making cocoa production more attractive to younger farmers through income diversification.

Dr Gyau and his colleagues recommend tools for implementing a sustainable landscape approach in business supply chains. These include: regional producer support programmes with activities such as risk assessment, information sharing on one or more commodities that require going beyond the farm level. There are also multistakeholder dialogues like the UN Global Compact, which is a strategic policy initiative for businesses that commit to uphold principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.  Tools on certification standards can be used to implement both vertical integration through buyer-supplier relationship in which contracted farmers meet certain standards in production and horizontal integration whereby businesses handling similar commodities merge to enjoy economies of scale.

In a related chapter, Gabrielle Kissinger of Lexeme Consulting and his colleagues expound on the use of certification standards to integrated land management and explore methodologies using various case studies. They highlight product certification standards as useful because they require evaluation of a business performance beyond production to its impact on the surrounding environment. But the main challenge is that most systems are designed for assessment within the property boundary.

Read more on these case studies in Part 4 of the book Climate-Smart Landscapes: Multifunctionality in Practice: Involving the Private Sector

Study: Move Climate Efforts from Complementarity to Synergy

By Elizabeth Kahurani

In combating climate change, interventions have mainly been channeled through two approaches – mitigation and adaptation. Activities to mitigate climate change include actions that reduce greenhouse gases and preve­nt further emissions. Adaptation refers to activities geared towards helping vulnerable communities already affected by climate change cope and build resilience.Pioneers of Ngitili system in Tanzania discuss how it works. Synergy between adaptation and mitigation ensures various stakeholders and sectors are involved.

Despite having intertwined objectives, the two practices were initially framed and have largely been pursued separately, leading to a lack of effectiveness and efficiency in concerted climate change actions. 

Any attempts to link the two interventions have been through a complementary approach whereby if mitigation is the main intervention, a project ensures there are adaptation co-benefits alongside. But according to Dr Lalisa Duguma and his colleagues from the ASB Partnership at the World Agroforestry Centre, these attempts are only halfway through the journey to effectively address the problem.

In a just released journal article with the title, Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation in the Land Use Sector: From Complementarity to Synergy, published in Environmental Management, the scientists argue that it is not just enough for the two climate approaches to complement each other. To achieve efficiency and effectiveness, it is important to have synergy between the two interventions.

What is synergy?

The study describes two forms of synergy: i) Additive synergy where in our case, the outcome would be realized from the individual independent effects of the mitigation and adaptation interventions; and ii) Non-additive synergy that can further be achieved in three categories, but here we focus on the super additive category that would be achieved if the outcome from interactions between the two interventions is greater than that gained from having the interventions act independent of each other. In this case, ‘the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.’

Synergy in mitigation and adaptation measures allows for use of resources that are related and complementary, particularly in the land use sector where the resource is limited in certain regions such as in the developing nations.“We recommend the super-additive synergy model in climate change as it increases efficiency, and it is cost effective. It takes advantage of the fact that resources involved in mitigation and adaptation measures are related and complementary, particularly in the land use sector where the resource is limited in certain regions like in the developing nations,” says Dr Duguma.


He further explains that the model is a step forward from the co-benefit based complementary approach as it targets to address priority problems of a particular area through a system-wide overhaul lens.

Synergy gives critical attention to system integrity and functionality necessitating the involvement of various stakeholders and sectors in an effort to reduce the possible tradeoffs due to their varying activities. This is in contrast with the top-down approach of having mitigation and adaptation complement with one being a co-benefit of the other.

Agroforestry and climate smart agriculture are among given examples of avenues to pursue synergy in agricultural landscapes, while those with a complementary approach would be in instances where a forest is established/conserved to sequester carbon or reduce emissions due to deforestation, but with other benefits of regulating climate and or being a habitat for wildlife.

Achieving mitigation-adaptation synergy

Dr Peter Minang’, a co-author in the study notes that the study developed four elements needed to move from complementarity to synergy.

First, there is need to identify practices such as agroforestry that have strong interconnectedness of adaptation and mitigation; then move to understanding the processes needed to activate synergy such as having the right institutions and funding mechanisms in place, as well as involving various stakeholders.

Another measure involves addressing tradeoffs between mitigation and adaptation. This is best illustrated in a case where tree species used in reforestation consume a lot of water, limiting availability of the commodity to the surrounding communities.

Lastly, national and local policies that provide a framework to actualize these measures and give necessary incentives for private sector and community involvement are proposed as the basis for actualizing synergy in a holistic, system-wide approach.

In Tanzania, the Ngitili system, a national intervention to deal with desertification through tree regeneration and conservation is one example where climate change has been addressed through a multifunctional approach without looking at the intervening efforts as either being mitigation or adaptation. The system has also had significant economic benefits to the local communities. Read more here.

“We can realize synergy in adaptation and mitigation at a global scale, however certain challenges have to be addressed,” says Dr Meine van Noordwijk, who is also a co-author in the study. These challenges include the current international framing of mitigation and adaptation as separate interventions, the view that mitigation is the best way to achieve adaptation, the lack of proper methodologies for analyzing the synergy approach, and uncertainties on which practices can be optimized to give maximum synergy benefits.  He is quick to add though that these are challenges to be addressed through continuous dialogue at global, national and subnational policy levels and increased research studies on the subject.

Read the article on open access:

Duguma, L. A., Minang, P. A., van Noordwijk, M. 2014. Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation in the Land Use Sector: From Complementarity to Synergy. Environmental Management. DOI: 10.1007/s00267-014-0331-x

Read more on a framework of conditions necessary for synergy

This work is linked to the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry


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