Representatives of the African Model Forests Network (AMFN), including Chimère Diaw, Executive Director, Joachim Nguiebouri from Cameroon and Annet Akeza Muhoozi, from Rwanda, participated in the African Landscapes Dialogue conference (ALD), March 6 to 10 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Addressed to “all those working to achieve sustainable development and climate resilience in Africa”, the Dialogue was a convening of over 140 landscape leaders, and a follow-up on the 2014 African Landscape Action Plan (ALAP), the African Union New Partnership for Development (NEPAD) roadmap for national, regional and international action on issues such as food security, biodiversity and climate change, through integrated landscape management.
The Horn of Africa Regional Environment Centre and Network (HoA-REC&N) and Ethiopia’s Water and Land Management Center (WLMC) hosted the Addis Ababa’s meeting, which was co-organised by Ecoagriculture Partners and other key members of the Landscape for People, Food & Nature initiative (LPFN), including the AMFN. Around 30 countries were represented, with a strong representation from East Africa. Participants included community organizations, local governments, land managers, businesses, and other stakeholders across Africa.
|“Sitting at a round table with 15 other landscape leaders, Diaw, the Executive Director of Africa Model Forest Network (AMFN), advocated for the need to move beyond the typical project approach. Once a landscape project is completed, funding dries up, maintenance is disregarded, and failure usually follows. The AMFN is built on the idea that if communities integrate new practices with their identity through long-term trust-building with implementing partners, appropriate activity integration, and facilitation of local leadership, those communities will continue the desired practices regardless of the presence of any given project.”
Landscape leaders call for linking practice to policy
Dr. Gemedo Dale, Ethiopian Minister of the Environment, opened the Dialogue, which was closed by a panel including Dr. Eyasu Abraha, Minister of agriculture and Natural resources, Ethiopia, and representatives from Tanzania and Rwanda. It was all about sharing best practices, lessons learned, tools and resources of practice in sustainable landscapes. It was also an opportunity for the AMFN, who travelled to Ethiopia with a delegation of 3, to contribute to the facilitation and present once again the Model Forests Approach.
“It is a good opportunity to remind people about how systematic the Model Forest method is. It is a peculiar kind of landscape leadership”, Dr. Diaw said. “The ALD allowed us to share our experience and contribute to the dialogue, by presenting and moderating meetings and plenaries, and through other activities such as poster sessions. We learned a lot but also planted the seed for some organisations to start integrating some of the ideas from our approach. The Model Forest method allows for local stakeholders to be in the driver’s seat of landscape governance and to influence the pace, novelty, and inclusiveness of economic transformations.”
The African continent, Dr. Diaw further said, is highly attractive right now as a place to invest, with a booming population and only an emerging industrial infrastructure. There is a considerable opportunity and political will to make an industrialised Africa emerge in a low-carbon, inclusive manner. Integrated landscape management is one of the avenues that have the potential to become a breeding ground for such innovation, whether in the form of innovative local enterprises or in developing more productive, more ecological agricultural pathways.
Dr. Diaw further wanted to pay tribute to the talents and leadership of the participants and to Ethiopia’s commitment to integrated landscape management, and also to underline the support from so many around the world, particularly EcoAgriculture Partners and Swedbio. He hailed the excellent work of the organisers, the host country representatives, the Horn of Africa Regional Environment Centre and Network (HoA-REC&N) and WLMC.