Smart strategy, finance crucial to grassland management

Between 1940 and 2009, there has been a rise of 2.1 degree temperature in the grasslands of Mongolia, which is higher than the global average of temperature rise. Damdin Dagvadorj, special envoy of Mongolia on climate change today shared this information at a side event within the ongoing 18th session of the United Nations Framework to Combat Climate Change (COP18) in Doha today.Stella Paul

The affect of the high temperature has been wide and severe on the local pastoral communities who have experienced both land degradation and loss of livestock, said Dagvadorj. However, despite the alarming scenario, it was still possible to make a turn around and improve the condition of life and land. However, for that, it would be important to take action in two key areas: sustainable livestock management and soil carbon sequestration.
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Interview with SOIL Haiti

Leah Neveda Page from Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods (SOIL), Haiti talks about their work.

Working in some of the poorest areas of Haiti, SOIL has developed an integrated approach to the issues of inadequate sanitation, declining soil fertility and extensive erosion. Through community driven ecological sanitation, SOIL helps restore soils and improve agricultural yields, at the same time improving the dignity and health of people without sanitation.

COP18.CMP8 /Journée dédiée à l’agriculture et à l’approche intégrée à la fois des forêts

« C’est une anomalie d’avoir autant de terres que le monde envie à l’Afrique et en même temps d’être la zone où il y a plus de famine ou plus d’insécurité alimentaire… »

Luc GNACADJA, Secrétaire Exécutif de la Convention des Nations Unies sur la lutte contre la désertification(UNCCD) appel à la mobilisation interne des dirigeants africains avant les additionnels extérieurs tout en investissant avec et pour le pauvre :

Quelle est la portée de la journée « Forest day6 », dédiée en ce jour à l’agriculture intégrée aux forêts dont vous êtes l’un des leaders ?

Luc Gnacadja : L’importance c’est d’attirer l’attention des Parties qui sont venus ici à Qatar dans le cadre de la négociation sur le climat de réduire leur potentiel des émissions de gaz à effet de serre. Et le premier potentiel de réduction est dans le secteur de l’énergie, le second dans le secteur de l’agriculture.Maintenant si on regarde la possibilité des pays en développement de réduire leurs émissions ; l’agenda des terres est le premier domaine d’action sur lequel il faut agir. En même temps quand on regarde le lien entre les effets sur le climat et la pauvreté, la sécurité alimentaire, les conflits et les migrations ; c’est sur l’agenda des terres qu’il faut investir. Continue reading

Interview with Robert Isingoma, CECOD Director

The organization Community Efforts for Community Development (CECOD) from Uganda is the winner of the Land for Life Award.

More than 85 percent of Ugandans live in rural areas, making their livelihoods from the land. But over the years the school system has become increasingly academic. Concerned with increasing knowledge of sustainable development, CECOD has turned children into agents of change in rural communities through creating a network of eco-schools, training of over 7,500 teachers and involving 34,700 children in micro projects, such as organic farming and water harvesting.

Integrated approach is key to food security in dryland, say experts

LucGnacadjaAn integrated and holistic approach is the only way to manage dry and degraded land sustainably – this was the core message given out by experts on the second day of Agriculture, Landscapes and Livelihoods day 5 in Doha.

The day, organized at a city hotel, brought together a number of experts and thought leaders from various government institutions and civil society organizations who were unanimous on the need to give more importance to dryland.

“40% of the world’s total forests are in dryland where 2.5 billion people live. Of them, 16% live in chronic poverty. So, there is no way we can ignore the importance of sustainable dryland management.

Because, this is directly linked to increasing agricultural productivity and food security, says Mohammaed Solh – Director General of International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas(ICARDA). According to Solh, technology transfer to the farmers, including improved seeds is important to help build the farmer.’ Dr Solh, however, expressed his shock and disappointment at the non-inclusion of agriculture from the core agenda of the climate change negotiations in the ongoing COP18 at Qatar National Convention Center.

According to him, it’s climate change, agriculture and food security were integrally linked and it needed no more than common sense to see that. Solh’s comments found wide support from other panelists who were also of the opinion that agriculture deserved to be a part of the UNFCCC negotiations. However, beside mitigation, the experts also expressed several valuable observations and comments on climate adaptation in agriculture, especially in the dryland.

Professor Judy Wakhungu, Executive Director of the African Center for Technological Studies said that it was time to take a holistic approach to agriculture, increased production and sustainable management of dry and degraded land. Wakhungu’s view was seconded by Robert Carlson – an American farmer and the president of World Farmers’ Association.

According to Carlson, for a farmer, the core issue was his own farm and sustaining his own food production. ‘When a farmer wakes up in the morning, he isn’t bothered by what is going on in the world, what he needs to know is how can he deal with the factors that are affecting his farm; how can he grow more food. So, we need to take it to the farmer and equip him with all the knowledge and technologies to help him deal with climate change challenges.’ Carlson also said that forthright in the need for land policy reforms were also an important area to focus into. “In many countries around the world, women make up to the 70% of the farm labour, but they have no right to the land whatsoever. So, property right is an area where we need to scale it up,’ he commented.P1060599

Mary Barton-Dock, Director of the Climate Policy and Finance Department at the World Bank., who had earlier worked in countries like Chad that had been experiencing widespread drought and desertification, said in certain countries like Zimbabwe and Kenya, farmers had started to use new technologies that helped treat degraded land. These included low tillage, water holding mulch and improved seed qualities.

However, when asked the importance of integrating conflict resolution into dryland management, Dr Burton-dock admitted that despite an urgent need, there was no such integrated approach yet.

Dr Luc Gnacadja – executive secretary of United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, however, made an important observation: most of the conflicts in the dryland , according to him, were resource-based. Therefore, it was important to address the root causes of the conflicts instead of only taking a fast-track, crisis management approach.

‘It’s time for the politicians to move away from crisis management mood to resolve political conflicts and instead focus on preparedness and prevention of conflicts, said Gnacadja. However, all the experts admitted that there were still a few gaps remaining in the integrated approach to sustainable dryland land management. These included land tenure, revamping of existing policies to give market access to farmers going for adaptation, and finally, creating a political consensus on the importance of dryland in ensuring food security and world poverty.Agriculture Day

Mary Barton-Dock of World Bank wrapped the day’s proceedings with this comment: ‘the president of World Bank said that we should keep asking ourselves, what will it take to end poverty? I think, to find the answer, we have to ask yet another question: ‘what would it take to end land degradation?’

Stella Paul is blogging from COP18