Kenya is among 11 African and Central-Asian countries set to benefit from a $104 million initiative by the Global Environmental Facility and FAO.
This program intends to safeguard drylands from climate change, fragile ecosystems, biodiversity loss, and deforestation
Dubbed, the ‘Sustainable Forest Management Impact Program on Dryland Sustainable Landscapes’. The program will pave the way for initiatives linked to the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.
The partnership is with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the World Bank, and the World Wildlife Fund.
Launched last week at the Global Landscapes Forum’s virtual event, Restoring Africa’s Drylands, the initiative will work across three critical dryland biomes.
These will be; – the Miombo and Mopane ecosystems of Southern Africa, the savannas of East and West Africa. Further, the grasslands, savannas, and shrublands of Central Asia. The main aim is to avoid, reduce, and reverse land degradation through sustainable land and forest management.
Nations to benefit
Also set to benefit are Angola, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Kazakhstan, Malawi, Mongolia, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe.
“As a multifocal and integrated initiative, the program will support countries in addressing common dryland management challenges. Providing numerous benefits in areas of land degradation, biodiversity and climate change and food security,” Ms. Maria Helena Semedo, FAO Deputy Director-General said during the virtual event
The program brings 12 million hectares of drylands under sustainable and management. 1.1 million hectares of the land primarily benefits biodiversity and avoids deforestation of 10,000 hectares of high conservation value forests.
It targets more than 1 million direct beneficiaries, improving management effectiveness on 1.6 million hectares of protected areas. Furthermore, restoring nearly 1 million hectares of land in the drylands, and reducing 34.6 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
In the next five years, it sets ground for accelerated action under the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. Additionally, will advance the national and global efforts in meeting commitments under several international accords.
They include the Paris Agreement, Convention on Biological Diversity, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, Bonn Challenge, AFR100, and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Drylands cover over 40 per cent of the earth’s landmass and are home to nearly two billion people. Moreover, they produce about 60 percent of the world’s food, and support a wide array of critical biodiversity.
These areas are facing increasing and combined threats of climate change, population growth, global demands for livestock. The additional troubles come from the new difficulties posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Common management challenges, such as limited connections between local knowledge with global networks and fragmented approaches. These issues hamper the ability of communities and countries to stop land degradation.
An integrated approach, across sectors and regions
The launch had participation from countries and partners, connecting local and national perspectives to regional and global representations.
The esteemed members were the likes of Southern African Development Community (Sadc) and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.
The event reflected the program’s integrated approach by connecting land users to national governments and intergovernmental for a. All with the aim of elevating local action for impact at scale.
Individual countries are responsible for executing the program as the donors have embraced a country-driven approach to accelerate sustainable change.
For example, Kenya, will be developing effective planning, management and governance systems. These will be used in mobilizing national and international stakeholders to strengthen its dryland value chains. Further the co-producing knowledge based on innovative spatial assessment tools will also be improved from this.
The program will be implemented with the UN Environment Program and the World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies. It will be expanded to involve additional countries through regional and global mechanisms.
FAO’s Committee on Forestry Working Group on Dryland Forests and Agrosilvo pastoral systems are to share knowledge and best practices on dryland ecosystems.