Climate change is arguably the most important challenges facing the international community with far-reaching implications for poverty, economic growth and sustainable development. However, despite global governance frameworks and international climate negotiation processes, there is a need to implement measures at other scales (national, municipal, landscape, local, etc.). Model Forests offer an important alternative to establishing more effective and equitable climate governance processes at the landscape level.
Recently, the Ibero-American Model Forest Network, in conjunction with the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Centre (CATIE), was awarded a CA$80,000 grant to implement a research project aimed at citizen engagement in climate change adaptation. Led by Josique Lorenzo, Communications and Policy Officer with CATIE, the “Improving Adaptive Capacity by Combining Open Collaborative Science with Innovative Landscape Governance” project will implement two small-scale pilot studies, one in Risaralda Model Forest (Colombia) and the other in Reventazón Model Forest (Costa Rica).
Within each territory, major sectors will be identified: forest communities, farmers, water users, teachers, tourism operators, cattle ranchers and coffee producers among others. The study will identify relevant actors who belong to those sectors and who are directly involved in ecosystem services and natural resource use that could be affected by climate change. Two to three stakeholders per sector will be selected to participate in the study.
A series of capacity building activities will provide community stakeholders with tools and frameworks to assist them in their decision-making processes related to climate change. They will also get access to climate data already collected by scientists. Through a micro-fund, each sector will be supported in the implementation of an adaptation strategy that has been identified by the stakeholders. The implemented strategies will be compared with the scientific literature to assess the quality and validity of the process and its potential to drive innovation.
An overarching goal of the project is to examine the possibility of increased large-scale participation of non-expert citizens into environmental research within Model Forests.
The two year project is being funded by the Open and Collaborative Science in Development Network (OSCDNet) with support from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in Canada, the Department for International Development in the U.K. and coordinated by iHub in Kenya and the University of Toronto in Scarborough.
We will share updates on the project as it is being implemented so stay tuned.
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