The Platform session on Integrated watershed management__ A new generation of programmes for rural development, resilience and empowerment focused on latest experiences, innovations and best practices, complemented with case studies from India, East and West Africa. The session looked at regional and global reviews of approaches, a new generation of watershed management programs that aim at sustainable intensification of agricultural production, better ecosystem services, improved food security, climate resilience and poverty reduction.
During the session it became evident that the landscape approach provides a suitable conceptual framework to tackle food security, poverty reduction, biodiversity enhancement and climate change adaptation objectives within larger geographical entities. Implementing efforts could only be successful if they were conceived for mid to longer term periods, based on strong political will and utilising participatory tools to create ownership on the side of all key stakeholder groups. In regions with enormous population growths gains from the landscape approach can actually even fuel further population growth and will therefore only be successful in the long run if in parallel effective family planning efforts were undertaken.
// Why watershed management?
Management of natural resources at a landscape level is a successful concept to rehabilitate and conserve natural resources and ecosystems while improving water use efficiency and intensifying productivity of agricultural, pastoral and forest systems. The involvement and contribution of local people empowers rural communities and promotes stakeholders to sustainably manage their local natural resources thereby setting up more resilient livelihoods.
The socioenvironmental context of landscape approaches has changed over the last 30 years. High population increases in most developing countries and altering consumption patterns in emerging economies exert additional stress on natural resources; increased pressure on natural resources causes degradation and – amplified by the effects of climate change – challenges rural production systems. Decentralisation, economic progress, enhanced communication technology and empowerment of women and civil society also brought about challenges in the social and institutional decision making processes.
Based on regional and global reviews of approaches, successes and failures a new generation of watershed management programs aims at sustainable intensification of agricultural production, better ecosystem services, improved food security, climate resilience and poverty reduction.
// Session recommendations
How can landscapes approaches contribute to the UNFCCC process?
Landscape approach is a long-term proven approach through watershed management/ territorial development to improve the adaptive capacity and resilience of rural communities and secure food security. Attention of negotiators in the UNCCC has to be drawn to the fact that such large scale interventions that generate multiple livelihood, food securitv and global environment benefits need reliable long-term and multisector support and funding mechanisms beyond conventional project approaches. Watershed management is a nested multiscale, multistakeholder and multisector approach within the overarching landscape concept.
How can landscapes approaches contribute to the design of Sustainable Development Goals and their achievement?
Landscapes approaches enable communities and other stakeholders to manage the natural resources and ecosystems at scale and in the long term so as to generate sustainable food and agriculture, socio-economic and environmental benefits at local and national levels as well as contributing to the global goals of the Rio convention (biodiversity, climate change, combating land degradation).
During the session it became evident that the landscape approach provides a suitable conceptual framework to tackle food security, poverty reduction, biodiversity enhancement and climate change adaptation objectives within larger geographical entities. However, implementing efforts could only be successful if they are conceived for mid to longer term periods, based on strong political will and utilising participatory tools to create ownership of all key stakeholder groups. Critically it was mooted that in regions with large population growths food security gains achieved through applying the landscape approach could actually even fuel further population growth and would therefore only be successful in the long run if in parallel effective family planning efforts were undertaken.
In the session organised by the Global Donor Platform, three of its members – i.e. World Bank, FAO and GIZ – presented latest experiences, innovations and good practices with watershed management, using case studies from India, East and West Africa.
Crispino Lobo of the Watershed OrganisationTrust (WOTR, Pune/India) spoke about his experiences in India with integrated climate-smart landscape-based watershed development. In his view, it is all about water. Central principles are catching rain water, slowing down runoff, providing evidence-based advisory services, making use of local knowledge and planning. Monitoring, demonstrating and communicating economic, ecological, social and institutional is need to scale up.
Crispino is known in development circles for his achievements in natural resource management, participatory watershed development and integrated water resources management. He cofounded WOTR and now heads the Sampada Trust, a microfinance and entrepreneurship development centre.
Dieter Nill of GIZ spoke about integrated landscape management under changing frameworks in Niger. In his view, large-scale soil and water conservation in dry conditions of the Sahel are a most efficient and effective response to man-made degradation and effects of climate change. Rehabilitation of natural resources such as soil, vegetation and groundwater is possible with positive economic impacts. Long-term engagement and investment is needed.
Dieter is a technical coordinator for the sector project sustainable agriculture at GIZ – specialising in natural resource management, agriculture, agrobiodiversity and water management
Sally Bunning of FAO spoke about watershed and landscape management for multiple benefits and climate resilience, experiences from East Africa. In her view, a holistic approach includes land, water and people. Essential principles incorporate promoting local knowledge, demonstrating improvements and making use of scientific evidence. Famer field schools proved valuable in extension and knowledge transfer. Costs need to be monitored and support has to be ensured long-term. This asks for collaboration on all levels, suitable institutional arrangements and awareness raising among policymakers.
Sally Bunning is Senior Land/Soils Officer at the Land and Water Division at FAO--focusing on watershed and sustainable agro-ecosystem management.
Questions raised in discussion were: What kind of long-term changes have been achieved? How to achieve optimal use of available water? What role do land tenure systems play vis-à-vis land management, and vice versa? How to deal with transboundary and transnational issues when taking watershed as delineation? Given the long-term perspective of changes in stabilising landscapes needs long-term funding, who is ready to finance interventions in a 20 years programme?! Tweet
In his concluding remarks, Jeffrey Campbell, Manager of the Forest and Farm Facility (a partnership between FAO, IIED and IUCN), highlighted that natural resources have to be seen in a holistic way. 'Do not think in boxes!', he said. Presentations and discussions demonstrated that integrated approaches were successful. Secondly, we learn from watershed management how to address climate change challenges in a landscape approach. Most elements, coming along with climate change, which effect natural resources can be tackled by applying an integrated approach of watershed management. Thirdly we need to involve local people, use local know and link it to practical scientific knowledge! And lastly we needed to learn how to adapt to new situations, accept complexity and diversity! Tweet
// About the Global Landscapes Forum
The first Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) convened on Saturday and Sunday, 16/17 Nov at the University of Warsaw/Poland, on the sidelines of the 19th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 19) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The forum combined two annual conferences – Forest Day, and Agriculture, Landscapes and Livelihoods (ALL) Day (previously Agriculture and Rural Development Day (ARDD)) – with the aim of creating a global platform to inform and engage world leaders, policymakers, scientists, donors, media, civil society, the private sector, indigenous and community groups, and climate negotiators, on the role sustainable landscapes can play in providing food, shelter, income, ecosystem services and environmental goods.
The event brought together more than 1200 participants, with an additional 1500 joining via webcast. A core objective of the event was to develop the potential of the landscape approach to inform future UNFCCC agreements and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To this end, the GLF was organised along four main themes: investing in sustainable landscapes in forests and on farms; landscape policy and governance for forestry, agriculture and other land uses; synergies between adapting to and mitigating climate change in forest and agricultural landscapes; and landscapes for food security and nutrition. In addition to various plenaries, sub-plenaries, and technical and networking sessions, a Gender Café and Youth Forum convened.
A high-level panel explored how to feed perspectives and insights from the GLF into the post-2015 development agenda process. During the closing plenary, two UNFCCC negotiators highlighted the status of agriculture- and forest-related negotiations at COP19 and expressed hope that the practical experiences shared at the forum will provide a fresh impetus to the negotiations. GLF organizers subsequently handed over a draft outcome statement to the two negotiators involved in the agriculture- and forest-related workstreams to forward to the COP. The final statement will be available on the GLF website.
The GLF was coorganised by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, the Agriculture and Rural Development Consortium – of which the Platform is a member –, the Polish ministries of environment and agriculture and rural development, and the University of Warsaw, in collaboration with more than 60 organising partners.
In terms of a key message that the travellers took from this first Global Landscapes Forum, it seems likely that the forest and agriculture communities are coming closer together – slowly and with no guarantee for success. For the future of the forum it is not clear how a) the objective to be a networking forum is beneficial for the organisations; b) how presenters could be encouraged to not only make political or generalised statements about the landscapes approach. Considering the agriculture-forest partnership bringing together the event and what needs to come of it, the declared goal of the organisers to influence UNFCCC negotiators needs to have more practical consideration, i.e. how to reach negotiators.
Participation in the sessions was not nearly as big as one would have expected from the registration numbers at the forum. In terms of knowledge exchange, the reporter is not convinced that a forum in this format is an efficient tool. The large communications team created a lot of the intended information. It is questionable though, whether this contributed in the end to getting more valuable information through to the target groups.
// Addtional materials
Twitter: to review all Platform tweets/retweets from the Global Landscapes Forum go to our storify,
for an overall search use @donorplatform #GLFCoP19
IISD summary report on the entire Warsaw climate change conference