Recommendations for policymakers from the African Landscapes Dialogue in Arusha
Biodiversity loss at all levels and across continents continues to occur faster than it can recover, especially in agricultural landscapes and outside of protected areas. During 2020, the parties to the CBD will craft a set of post–2020 goals and strategies for biodiversity conservation (CBD 2019). Strategies for action in Africa are a key focus.
The November 2019 African Landscapes Dialogue* held in Arusha, Tanzania, brought together leaders of dozens of integrated landscape partnerships across Africa to share innovations and to jointly update the African Landscapes Action Plan (2014 and 2017). A central theme was the application of Integrated Landscape Management to biodiversity and wildlife conservation across Africa. African biodiversity experts and conservation practitioners generated ten concrete recommendations to inform the CBD strategy as well as African policymakers on how ILM can contribute to the CBD Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework, synthesized in this policy brief.
These were synthesized by John Ajjugo, of the Horn of Africa Regional Environment Centre and Network (HOAREC&N); John Kamanga, Of the South Rift Association of Land Owners (SORALO); Sam Kanyamibwa from the Albertine Rift Conservation Society (ARCOS Network), and Sara Scherr of EcoAgriculture Partners.
Biodiversity conservation and its changing focus in Africa
The authors argue that although biodiversity conservation in Africa has long received international attention, most focus has been on threats at the species level, especially large wildlife. The large ecological crisis unfolding in Africa calls for a new philosophy of landscape management, with a focus on integrated approaches to managing natural resources in production landscapes and seascapes.
Landscape initiatives have also developed more effective strategies to conserve biodiversity within working landscapes, such as innovative approaches to land use planning; new types of locally managed conservancies; methods to incorporate biodiversity benefits in livelihood strategies; and financial innovations that encourage biodiversity conservation in economic development.
However, for these approaches to be sustainable, national policy and planning frameworks need to recognize and promote ILM as an approach for land management that takes into account spatial and temporal ecological processes and ecosystem connectivity.
Recommendations from African Landscape Leaders for the post-2020 CBD Agenda
The African Landscapes Dialogue for the CBD Post-2020 Agenda recommends policy action to support locally-led landscape partnerships, ‘green’ landscape economies, and landscape performance measurement:
Support locally-led landscape partnerships
- Support and strengthen long term, locally-led and area-based landscape initiatives
- Create national policy and enabling frameworks that make space for community-led landscape initiatives
- Plan with communities and promote more broadly land-use planning methods that embrace integrated landscapes at larger scales (regional, national and transboundary)
- Work through existing integrated landscape initiatives.
Build ‘green’ landscape economies
- Manage agricultural systems for biodiversity conservation
- Integrate biodiversity consideration and natural infrastructure into urban landscape planning
- Generate direct community benefits from protecting wildlife and biodiversity and link wildlife economy to the market
- Mobilize finance for integrated landscape investments that support biodiversity.
Measure landscape-level performance
- Set landscape biodiversity targets
- Build local skills and invest in Community Resource Centres for locally-led landscape monitoring and research.
* The African Landscapes Dialogue series are organized by EcoAgriculture Partners on behalf of the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature initiative. Preparation of the Policy Brief was supported by the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency.