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Sustainable Development Policy & Practice
Land Policy & Practice

Seventh Rio Conventions Pavilion (RCP)
“Shaping Our Future: Rio+20 Outcome Follow-Up and Moving Towards the Post-2015 Development Agenda”

17-26 September 2013 | Windhoek, Namibia

Highlights for Monday, 23 September 2013
Rio Conventions Pavilion at UNCCD COP11

The Rio Conventions Pavilion convened for Resource Mobilization Day on Monday, 23 September. The Rio Conventions Pavilion is meeting in conjunction with the Eleventh Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 11) to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), taking place from 16-27 September 2013, in Windhoek, Namibia. Resource Mobilization Day included sessions on: overview of the 6th Replenishment of the Global Environment Facility (GEF-6); two decades of experience - investing in ecosystem services and adaptation for food security; GEF-6 strategies for the land degradation focal and incentive mechanism on sustainable forest management (SFM) / REDD+; and the GEF-6 Signature Programs.

Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson, the GEF, with African delegates.
Overview of GEF-6 Replenishment

On Monday morning, the first panel opened with an overview of strategic thinking underpinning GEF-6, expected to start in 2014.

Representatives from the GEF Secretariat explained the goals and objectives under each focal area and programme of GEF-6: the SFM programme; biodiversity; international waters; climate change; chemicals and waste; and land degradation. Describing the goal of the last area as arresting and reversing the current global land degradation trends, specifically desertification and deforestation, one speaker outlined the four major objectives: agriculture and rangeland systems; forest and integrated landscapes; and institutional policies and frameworks. He said that the major foci of SLM in previous replenishment periods, including agroforestry, grazing management and integrated ecosystem management, will be scaled up in GEF-6.

The panelists also noted that the GEF’s approach is shifting from addressing pressures towards drivers, and to focusing on systemic solutions to global environmental challenges. Of the proposed land management-related Signature Program, which addresses the drivers of environmental degradation through joint platforms, the panelists mentioned sustainability and resilience for food security in Africa.

During discussions, a civil society member explored possibilities for sharing over-arching experiences across all GEF projects, to facilitate decision making. Supporting the idea, the speakers suggested that, while the initiatives are country-driven, the GEF’s regional bodies could provide opportunities for countries to come together.

Panel (L-R): Mohamed Bakarr, the GEF; Paola Agostini, World Bank; and Ulrich Apel, the GEF.
Paola Agostini, World Bank
Mohamed Bakarr, the GEF
Ulrich Apel, the GEF

Two Decades of Experience: Investing in Ecosystem Services and Adaptation for Food Security

In the afternoon, panelists from the GEF launched a publication “Two Decades of Experience: Investing in Ecosystem Services and Adaptation for Food Security.” One panelist noted that the report highlights the GEF’s experiences investing in food security, stressing the linkages between land use and associated ecosystem services. He said the methodology included an examination of all associated projects related to agriculture, rangeland and forests, and identified those focused specifically on improving management and sustainability, which resulted in 192 projects serving as the basis of the assessment.

He stated that the GEF’s food security investments total US$ 810 million, for sustainable land management (SLM), management of agricultural biodiversity, sustainable fisheries and water resources management, and climate change adaptation for food security. He noted that benefits of food security projects can be measured, such as: healthy soils; soil carbon sequestration; reduced erosion; sustained flow of water resources; increased vegetation cover; on-farm diversification; and sustainable rangelands. He emphasized the challenge of managing tradeoffs, for instance, improved agricultural water use can result in increased area watered, which leads to the depletion of water resources.

The GEF launched "Two Decades of Experience: Investing in Ecosystem Services and Adaptation for Food Security."
Mohamed Bakarr, the GEF
Christian Hofer, the GEF
The GEF sponsored Resource Mobilization Day.

GEF-6 Strategies for the Land Degradation Focal and Incentive Mechanism on SFM / REDD+

On Monday afternoon, the panel included presentations by the GEF Secretariat on two UNCCD-relevant GEF-6 themes: the Land Degradation Focal Area Strategy and the SFM/REDD+ Program. Focusing on SLM in production landscapes, the focal area directly supports the implementation of the UNCCD and aims at producing multiple environmental and agricultural benefits, including: increased flow or maintenance of ecosystem services; sustained crop, livestock and forest production; and sustainable livelihoods.

On the SFM/REDD+, one panelist explained that the programme aims to “unlock the potential” of the three Rio Conventions, which it serves as a financial mechanism, in order to implement multi-focal area projects relating to forests. Presenting activities funded under GEF-5, the speaker discussed 49 national SFM projects and seven programmes, including in: protected area establishment and management; REDD+ pilots; payments for ecosystem services (PES); and development of policy frameworks and alternative livelihood strategies. He said lessons learned from this period include the need for programme-specific objectives and higher flexibility for addressing drivers of forest loss.

The panelists stressed the need for multi-sectoral approaches and managing for the multiple benefits of land and forests, given the pressures of food security and natural resources, among others. The panel concluded with an interactive discussion, with interventions by African country representatives on GEF funding, including on experiences, distribution and access.

Panel (L-R): Ulrich Apel, the GEF; Sally Bunning, UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO); and Jean-Marc Sinnassamy, the GEF.
Sally Bunning, FAO
Ulrich Apel, the GEF
Jean-Marc Sinnassamy, the GEF

GEF-6 Signature Programs

On Monday afternoon, Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson, the GEF, discussed the accelerating challenges of population growth and urbanization. She said, while noting pride in the GEF’s work over the past 20 years, that business as usual will not work to address modern challenges. She underscored that the proposed GEF-6 Signature Programs aim to address drivers of degradation rather than symptoms. She said that this is the most “impactive” way to achieve the Rio Conventions’ obligations.

One panelist discussed how to build sustainable food systems in Africa. He highlighted challenges, including declining per capita food production, noting that inventions require targeting unhealthy soils and “untamed water.” He noted infrastructure gaps, including in storage facilities, transportation and irrigation systems, and underscored lack of market access due to their highly fragmented and inefficient nature. He also discussed the lack of access to finance and the impacts of climate change on agricultural productivity due to increased variability in floods and droughts.

A panelist from the GEF discussed the proposed Signature Program for GEF-6 on sustainability and resilience for food security in Africa. He noted that smallholder agriculture is the foundation of food security in Africa, stressing the challenge of tailoring programmes to the diversity presented by the continent and high vulnerability in most areas.

Panel (L-R): Eric Patrick, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD); Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson, the GEF; Mohamed Bakarr, the GEF; and Bashir Jama, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).
Bashir Jama, AGRA
Eric Patrick, IFAD
Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson, the GEF

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