policy

Positioning institutions for forest governance in Cameroon

By Elizabeth Kahurani

For any country, developing an institutional framework on forest governance that incorporates and seamlessly coordinates activities between various sectors and stakeholders with varying interests and ideas can be quite a challenge. In most developing countries like Cameroon, this challenge seems to be compounded by other factors such as dependency on international actors and power concentration at the national level.

Meeting with community cocoa field farmers in Cameroon. Institutions need to empower communities for effective implementation of REDD+According to a new study looking at institutional dimensions of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) in Cameroon, ‘external organizations appear to play a dominant role in the implementation of REDD+ demonstration activities.’ In addition, international consultants and organizations seem to lead discussions in climate change forums, a situation that has resulted in “ambiguity of the REDD+ development process in Cameroon, particularly with regard to institutionalized patterns of action,” says Serge Ngendakumana, lead author of the study. He points out that this may not be unique to Cameroon but a challenge in other developing countries as well, and seems to be a scenario played out at the UN climate talks debate on the REDD+ process where developing countries viewpoints are not fully incorporated. “While collaboration with international bodies is key especially in developing capacity, national actors need to set up clear and transparent country-specific norms and rules to ensure sustainability,” says Serge.

The study was conducted through interviews and is framed around a REDD+ nested policy structure with four principles of -Institutions, Interests, Ideas, and Information. “Using this 4I’s framework, there is strong potential to build strong interplays for actors’ flexibility in current discourses,” explains Serge. The structure comes with recommendations for implementing social safeguards to avoid negative impacts on the local community.

With regard to power relations and participation, the study found that in comparison to other actors, responsibilities are vested on state agents to the extent that these institutions will be both the regulators and managers of forest carbon, raising concerns of effectiveness and transparency in the process.  “As this and other studies recommend, there is need for co-management in the process especially with the local communities,” recommends Dr Peter Minang, who is also an author in the study. In addition, the private sector including the agribusiness and logging companies need to be part of the process as they present both threats and opportunities. “Some of them can be funding sources for payment for ecosystem services initiatives,” says Dr Minang.

To promote an even distribution of power relations and inclusiveness, the study developed a governance framework that stands on key institutional sectors acting together with stakeholders at a landscape level to empower communities to implement REDD+ activities. Communities can be empowered through actions such as secure land and tree tenure, agroforestry and other climate smart agricultural techniques for increased production.

“The model we propose in this study if applied can build capacity for the local communities thus reducing their vulnerability, ensure fair compensation, and promote institutional coordination,” says Serge. Proposed governance framework for forest governance at landscape level

The REDD initiative presents an opportunity for Cameroon to benefit from efforts to keep the country’s forest standing. To realize benefits, forest governance structures need to be assessed and changes made to ensure a fair transparent, and coordinated process.

 Institutional Dimensions of the Developing REDD+ Process in Cameroon study is part of a journal special issue Climate Policy vol.14, no. 6 focusing on The Political Economy of Readiness for REDD+. All articles in this issue are open access.

Citation: Ngendakumana, S. Minang, P.A. Feudjio, M. Speelman, S. Van Damme, P. Tchoundjeu, Z. 2014 Institutional dimensions of the developing REDD+ process in Cameroon Climate Policy 14 (6) 769-787

Is Cameroon REDD+ Ready? Stakeholders weigh in

By Elizabeth Kahurani

Cameroon is endowed with a dense tropical rainforest part of the Congo Basin. This natural resource is estimated to cover about 42% of the country’s total land area and bodes environmental, as well as socio-economic benefits for the country, particularly for indigenous forest-dependent communities.  But the forest is threatened by high rates of deforestation,  and degradation.

Field practicals during ASB Partnership training on Estimating Opportunity Costs for REDD+ in CameroonAction taken by the government to curb this trend include being part of the global mechanism REDD+ -(Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation plus conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks).

REDD+ is meant to support voluntary efforts to mitigate climate change by developing countries and provides financial value on carbon sequestered through the initiative. To actively participate in REDD+, a country has to go through various levels of preparation in a process called REDD Readiness.

To determine how far Cameroon is in this process, a recent study employed a framework with a set of universal applicable criteria developed by scientists at the ASB Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins. The criteria consists of six main functions, several sub-functions and indicators for successful implementation of REDD+. The six main functions are: Planning and Coordination; Policies, Laws and Institutions; Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) and Audit; Benefit Sharing; Financing; Demonstration and Pilots. The framework has a standard application and countries can use this framework to evaluate their REDD+ performance against other participating countries.

Cameroon’s score on the functions and indicators provided by the framework was determined through interviews with key REDD+ stakeholders at various levels of government, civil society, development partners, academic, and media. An extensive literature review was also conducted.

Overall, the country seems to do well on planning and coordination, political will and commitment through action taken with regard to institutional aspects; and in demonstration and pilots projects.  Functions that got low ratings were on legal, benefit sharing, MRV and Audit, and financing.

The study proposes a number of recommendations for Cameroon to fast track their readiness process. These include the need to complete the country REDD+ Strategy in order to enhance coordination between government ministries, establishing the National Observatory on Climate Change as an independent body with budget and mandate to implement activities, strengthening enforcement of government legislation within the forest sector, and providing clear channels for conflict resolution and addressing rights issues.

“To draw in the private sector, the idea of a carbon concession in which forest blocks are allocated to companies that can manage and sell carbon and proceeds shared between the government and communities is advanced,” says Dr Dieudonne Alemagi, lead author of the Cameroon study.

“Challenges to do with MRV can be tackled through engagement with regional and international initiatives with developed tools and methodologies that can be modified for local application,” he adds.

Developing a devolved mechanism through existing structures such as the annual forestry fess, Land fees, REDD+ performance-based payments is further explained as a way to improve benefit sharing and financing for REDD+ in Cameroon.

Being a rich forest country, Cameroon could take advantage of ongoing initiatives and opportunities to strengthen its forest sector. This study contributes practical steps for the country in this journey.

Source: REDD+ readiness process in Cameroon: an analysis of multi-stakeholder perspectives? part of a journal special issue Climate Policy vol.14, no. 6 focusing on The Political Economy of Readiness for REDD+. All articles in this issue are open access.

Citation: Alemagi, D. Minang, P. A. Feudjio, M. Duguma, L.A. 2014 REDD+ readiness process in Cameroon: an analysis of multi-stakeholder perspectives? Climate Policy 14 (6) 709-733

Realizing landscape restoration initiatives through Landcare

By Clinton Muller & Dennis Garrity

The global agenda is turning its attention to landscape restoration initiatives. 

Visions have been set, such as the objective of Land Degradation Neutrality championed through the UNCCD at Rio+20.

Targets have been defined, including the Bonn Challenge to restore 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded lands by 2020.

The new challenge now is how will these landscape restoration initiatives be realized?

National governments have demonstrated tremendous leadership in enacting sound policy to support landscape restoration initiatives. Landcare Group in Nigeria distributing seedlings as part of a revegetation project Ethiopia for instance, has committed to restore 150 million hectares of degraded land, more than one-sixth of the country’s total land area.  Likewise, Guatemala is working towards restoring 1.2 million hectares of it’s 10.7 million hectare land mass.  Many NGO’s and other agencies have also embarked on programs and activities to support these objectives.

While invariably the intent of achieving these goals are well grounded, the processes in which to fully realize them now, and into the future, are still being defined.

Landcare can bring a lot to the table to contribute to the discussion.

Founded independently, yet simultaneously in Australia and Germany in the mid 1980’s, Landcare is an approach based on the notion of communities caring for their landscape.  The model, based on the values of community empowerment and collective action to develop and apply innovative solutions to natural resource management challenges, has often been identified as ‘bottom-up’ rather than the conventional ‘top-down’ program design. 

It is the focus on the bottom up mechanism that places community at the forefront of landscape management and decision making activities.  This is not to suggest community can achieve these outcomes in isolation.  Lessons from the Landcare approach in Australia, which has scaled to a national program with more than 4,000 community Landcare groups, demonstrates the importance of effective partnerships.  Strong partnerships exist between voluntary community Landcare groups in Australia with various government agencies, NGOs and the private sector, as well as research institutes. 

Together, the Landcare community of Australia has changed their rural and urban landscape in supporting the reversal of land degradation.  Through the collective efforts of community Landcare groups, the Australian landscape has been transformed, as witnessed by:

  • the planting of millions of trees, shrubs and grasses
  • riparian protection works
  • restored water quality through streambank stabilization and stock exclusion from waterways
  • improved ground cover, grazing methods and soil management
  • protection and regeneration of remnant native vegetation for habitat; and
  • stronger, adaptable and resilient rural communities

The success of Landcare is not just isolated to Australia.  Strong evidence exists in the more than 30 countries globally who have embraced Landcare.  Communities have reclaimed erosive hillsides in Claveria, Philippines for agricultural production.  Farmers in Kapchorwa, Uganda, have protected the forested area of Mt Elgon and rehabilitated erosive hillslopes through re-vegetation and the development of community by-laws to address free grazing.  Degraded and erosive grasslands in Iceland have been rehabilitated by farmers through the seeding of lyme grass.  These actions have all been undertaken through the Landcare approach.

Realization of initiatives to restore global landscapes will require a coordinated response.  Establishing global, regional and national targets whilst facilitating conducive policy environments is essential.  Equally so is the engagement of the community at the grassroots.  Landcare provides a mechanism to realize this. 

Ultimately the realization of the vision for Landscape restoration will rest with the community, not just in the present through the adoption of remediation works, but also the adoption of a Landcare ethic to sustain landscape management into the future.

Source: This blog is based on Chapter 11: Landcare - a landscape approach at scale of the New book: Climate-smart Landscapes: Multifunctionality in Practice

Citation: Catacutan, D., Muller, C., Johnson, M., & Garrity, D. (2015). Landcare – a landscape approach at scale. In Minang, P. A., van Noordwijk, M., Freeman, O. E., Mbow, C., de Leeuw, J., & Catacutan, D. (Eds.) Climate-Smart Landscapes: Multifunctionality in Practice, 151-161. Nairobi, Kenya: World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)

 

 

Complex political and economic realities of being REDD ready

Scientists with the ASB Partnership for the Tropical Forests Margins at the World Agroforestry Centre have published a special  issue in Climate Policy vol.14, no. 6, that focuses on the Political Economy of Readiness for REDD+, guest edited by Dr Peter Minang and Dr Meine van Noordwijk.  All articles in this special issue are available for free as “open access” publications.

According to the special issue, the process of REDD+ readiness is shaped by a host of complex political and economic factors largely influenced by the national environment, history and circumstances specific to each country.

“The game changes at country level, and the process has to account for complex political and economic realities involving multiple actors, institutions, political and sectoral ideologies that require an iterative, rather than a simple linear, global process,” says Dr Peter Minang, one of the special issue editors.

Read entire blog from Climate Strategies and climate policy journal blog.

NEW BOOK: Climate smart landscapes -Multifunctionality in practice

The World Agroforestry Centre is pleased to formally launch the book: Climate-Smart Landscapes: Multifunctionality in Practice

This book brings together a range of work around landscape approaches specifically looking at the pathways, methods and tools needed for achieving sustainable multifunctional landscapes within the context of climate change.  It draws strongly on field experiences and case studies from across the developing world to concretely demonstrate how the concept of taking a landscape approach can be applied both in policy and practice. It presents scientific evidence in a way that is accessible and applicable by mid-career practitioners and policymakers in a bid to bridge science, policy and practice. This includes a section specifically identifying opportunities for private sector involvement in landscape approaches.

The book was launched at the Global Landscape Forum held on the margins of the UNFCCC COP20.  Panelists at the launch said the following about the book:

“What I like about this book is that you do not get bogged down trying to define landscapes,” Dr Robert Nasi, Director for the Forests and Environment Programme at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), and head of CGIAR consortium research programme, Forests, Trees and Agroforestry: Livelihoods, Landscapes and Governance.

“This book is a watershed moment for the landscape discourse. It balances analytical work on how to think about landscapes in a very sophisticated way,” Dr Sara Scherr, President and CEO, EcoAgriculture Partners

“The book is a great tool for policy makers, it has come at the right time when we have been tasked to develop a landscape approach in Uganda,” Tim Christophersen, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

“This book is practical, with case studies that clearly articulate the concept and implementation of the landscape approach. We will only achieve sustainable development if we work in an integrated manner,” Satya  Tripathi, Director, United Nations Office for REDD+ Coordination in Indonesia (UNORCID)

Read and download the book

Related articles:

Book key messages

How to build a business case for climate smart landscape approach to the private sector

Why climate change researchers are so excited about landscapes

Landscape approach: bridging the climate agenda with the Sustainable Development Goals 

The landscape approach for meeting the climate challenge: Examples from Africa 

New book on Climate Smart Landscapes: Key Messages

Book Launch

Climate Smart Landscapes: Multifunctionality in Practice

SATURDAY, 6 DECEMBER 2014, 12.15 -13.00

Where: Global Landscape Forum 2014 - The Westin Lima Hotel

MEDIA ROOM

#ThinkLandscape  #GLFCOP20 #COP20

 

Book Key messages

1. Landscapes are shaped by people with different preferences, interests, knowledge and power. Therefore, democratic processes that allow negotiations and fair representation are the best way to achieve changes that will be sustainable

In this book, we describe Negotiation Support Tools such as the Land Use planning for Low Emission Development Strategy (LUWES) which is currently being implemented in all provinces in Indonesia (see Book Chapter 17)

2. Current landscape approaches and practices are not effective in meeting the complexity of developmental, environmental and social challenges.

The book expounds on management processes such as the adaptive collaborative management process that engages with all stakeholders in a ‘learn by doing’ systematic approach.

Overall, the book expounds on a system process approach to implementation of a Landscape approach involving planning, implementation (actions and practice), institutions (policy, knowledge), monitoring, evaluation and audit. See summary guide Table 27.1 on how each chapter describes application of the different steps

3. Landscape approaches need to be grounded in local realities of place (referred to in this book as “Theory of place”) and the ambitions or expected change of the people (referred to in this book as “Theory of change”) – see Book Chapter 26. Building on and protecting existing local resilience of landscapes is important, as climate variability is increasing and climate change effect is felt strongly.  

4. Nesting landscapes to national and global policy platforms such as green growth, MDG / SDG implementation, low emissions development strategies, NAMAs and decision-making (jurisdictional levels) is an important dimension for success.

The CSL book describes a set of good governance and landscape democracy-based dimensions, criteria and indicators. Key dimensions include legitimacy, participation, empowerment, ownership of knowledge and process, respect for local people and indigenous local knowledge, equity and effectiveness and competence – see Book Chapter 27

 

5. Further developing public-private partnerships within landscape approaches is imperative. Incorporating a business case perspective, accompanied by feasible institutional frameworks in landscape approaches will create space for private sector investments, know-how and efficiency.

Book Chapter 21 describes the case of Sasumua reservoir in Kenya that provides 20% water to Nairobi, the capital city. A business case for payment of ecosystem services was identified between the city water company (NWCS) and upland farmers in Sasumua (about $122,924/year Net Present Value). However, this could not be implemented because NWCS already pays watershed management fees to the Water Resource Management Authority. Also, a section of consumers in Nairobi were willing to pay alittle more in their water bill to finance watershed conservation but only the water services regulatory board has the mandate to increase tariffs and not the NWSC)

 

6. The evidence-base from landscape analysis is critical for facilitating negotiations (trade-offs) and forging synergies between stakeholder perspectives, ambitions and functions in achieving sustainable multifunctional landscapes. Therefore practitioners need to pay attention to both analysis and facilitation of processes in striving to improve effectiveness and efficiency.

For instance, applying landscape approach to climate change efforts would mean creating synergies between mitigation and adaptation in their functions, institutions and resources. The current approach to the two interventions as separate streams has been challenged with ineffectiveness and inefficiency as different institutions work towards the same goals while competing with each other

 

7. Landscape approaches can greatly benefit from global policy support. Increasing opportunities for landscape approaches to climate, environmental and development challenges are emerging in the global policy arena with examples such as the CBD, the European Landscape convention and in discussions on Land Use and Land Use Change and Forestry (in the CDM context) and on synergy between climate change mitigation and adaptation within the UNFCCC.

 

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

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