Reconciliation and resilience: Key elements for sustainable landscapes in Africa

January 06, 2020 | Written BY : IMFN

From November 12 to 15, 2019, more than 150 experts and representatives of African territorial communities gathered in Arusha in Tanzania, during the most recent edition of the African Landscapes Dialogue (ALD). Participants recognized the importance of reconciliation between the stakeholders and the need to support local economies in their different approaches, two elements common to the Model Forest approach.

A field visit allowed participants to chat with members of coffee eco-processing cooperatives, to visit “Chaggah” type home gardens, to observe a demonstration of Biochar (charcoal production of plant origin produced from biomass residues of organic matter – a good way to supplement the burning).

The African Model Forest Network (AMFN) co-organized and co-facilitated the event, following which many lessons could be learned, including: the need to have a development strategy for green social entrepreneurship in support to the resilience of communities on the territory, the interest of an approach to reconcile the stakeholders based on the negotiation of mutual interests rather than on radical rights conflicts and the importance of having the necessary strategies and means to the mobilization of financial flows and investments in the territories in support of the dynamics of the popular economy.

“These lessons and many others, largely from the development process of Model Forests, have been shared and are the subject of consensus with the other participants of the African Landscapes Dialogue”, reports Joachim Nguiebouri, coordinator of Forests Models at AMFN.

Another conclusion that emerged from this edition of the ALD is that support and funding efforts for sustainable landscaping must move away from the project approach, in order to offer greater flexibility and longer time frames. To do this, the development dynamics and the instruments used must be part of an integrated landscape management approach. An issue that challenges AMFN: “In this regard, I am thinking of mobilizing the investments and funding necessary to scale up the lessons learned over the past 15 years, as well as to consolidate the partnerships forged around the ALD, in order to constitute a true pan-African network representative of these territories in their splendid diversity,” explains Dr Diaw, director of AMFN. “Several national and regional thematic discussion groups formed during this edition of the ALD planted the seeds of this momentum. Among these, there is the Trans-langues Group, mobilizing the current Francophone minority to establish links between West and Central Africa and East and Southern Africa, and the “One Africa” Group which works in the same spirit, but from the angle of transcontinental economic and organizational solidarities ”added Dr Diaw.

The participants, from around twenty countries, exchanged in-depth discussions on their experiences and methods of intervention, as well as on the knowledge necessary for better management of landscapes. The Dialogue was held under the theme of bringing together the leaders of the territories for peer-to-peer learning and the definition of a bottom-up agenda in support of the Action Plan for African Territories.[1]

The AMFN has moderated or co-facilitated the overall review of African initiatives on landscapes as well as the debates on the governance of territories, on the methods of uniting the stakeholders and the facilitation of territorial dialogue through the management of land conflicts and the negotiation of the rights and interests of stakeholders on the territory.

The Campo Ma’an Model Forest Women Platform gave a remarkable account of its experience and the sustainability of its impacts on the territory, while the initiatives of the Moringa in Congo / Dimonika, and beet in Rwanda (Initiative Model Forest of the Highlands of Rwanda), came to illustrate the leadership of AMFN women in the development of “green economic models” in support of the governance of territories in Africa.

[1] African Landscapes Action Plan – ALAP, adopted by NEPAD and the African Union

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