The Asia and Pacific region is home to two-thirds of the world’s population that live below the poverty line. The vast majority are highly dependent on land for their livelihoods and practice rain-fed agriculture and therefore the region’s economic and social development depends largely on maintaining a productive rural landscape.
Increasingly, climate change processes are undermining the productive capacity of land as a result of erratic water availability, floods, salt water intrusion due to rising sea levels, and high day- and night-time temperatures. This is resulting in decreased crop yields. Sustainable land management (SLM) is therefore crucial for building up the resilience of ecosystems and for cushioning the vulnerable from the negative impacts of climate change.
The Asia and Pacific programme targets areas where the link between desertification and poverty is acute, through the development of partnerships between governments, civil society and development agencies to establish long-term integrated financing strategies (IFSs) to address priority land degradation issues. All of the programme’s initiatives are oriented towards generating financing for UNCCD implementation by:
- engendering a common understanding of the root causes of desertification and its multi-sectoral dimensions;
- broadening stakeholder participation in promoting SLM and building partnerships between national and external actors;
- improving enabling policy, legislative, institutional and incentive frameworks for SLM and poverty alleviation;
- mainstreaming SLM and climate change-related issues into development cooperation frameworks; and
- securing financing from a broad range of sources, mechanisms and innovations for UNCCD implementation over the long term.
In Central Asia, the GM spearheaded the establishment of the Strategic Partnership for UNCCD Implementation in Central Asian Countries (SPA) in 2001. The SPA is a multi-donor consortium consisting of many key bilateral and multilateral institutions. The major outcome of the SPA has been the ten-year Central Asian Countries Initiative for Land Management (CACILM), a Global Environment Facility (GEF) multi-country, multi-donor programme promoting SLM. CACILM has put together a USD1.4 billion investment programme of SLM-related activities over ten years and has mobilized USD155 million for Phase 1. The GM contributed to this process financially and technically and was instrumental in negotiating the financing package of the 1st phase. The GM, together with UNDP, GTZ, ADB and other development cooperation partners, are now working to mobilize finance for the 2nd Phase.
In South and South East Asia and the Pacific, the GM is enhancing capacities to mobilize finances for SLM over the long term with the support of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the European Commission (EC) through its Africa, Caribbean and Pacific programme. Work within South and South East Asia is being done within the framework of the respective UNCCD Subregional Action Programmes (SRAPs). Workshops on Designing Integrated Financing Strategies (DIFS) are being conducted for country teams comprised of key stakeholders from ministries of planning, finance, environment, agriculture and forests, and civil society and academia. DIFS builds on the GM’s mainstreaming experiences in North Africa, and seeks to increase the capacity of relevant national stakeholders to develop long-term IFSs for implementation of the UNCCD. Twenty six countries will participate in DIFS workshops in 2009, with several more in 2010. Subsequent to the DIFS workshops, follow-up work on developing an IFS is pursued at the national level.
Since 2008 the GM has been increasing the number of country-level interventions to develop and implement IFSs for SLM. Countries currently being engaged are: Cambodia, Fiji, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Nepal, Palestine, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam and Yemen.
With the support of the GM, Lebanon and Jordan have pioneered the development of IFSs for UNCCD implementation in the region and are at an advanced stage. Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) in Lebanon and UNDP, and also with IFAD, has led to the establishment of a portfolio of SLM projects under the Integrated Investment Framework (IIF) totaling approximately USD25.5 million.
In Jordan, the launching of the IFS in March 2009 led to the NAP and IFS priorities being integrated into the Government of Jordan’s development programme and its 2009-2011 National Executive Programme. The GM worked closely with the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation (MOPIC) and the Ministry of Environment (MoE) to bring this about. Efforts will be concentrated now on mobilizing co-financing from a range of sources identified in the IFS for supplementing national finances. The first project under the IIF of the IFS is a USD 29 million project titled Mainstreaming sustainable land and water management practices, developed by IFAD and the GM and co-financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through the IFAD-led MENARID Programme and the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID).
The experiences gained in West Asia with relation to IFS development is providing a solid foundation for assisting the countries detailed above with similar IFS development and implementation processes. The strategic approach of IFS for SLM development is positioning the countries well with relation to resource mobilization in light of the current global financial crisis.
For more information
Ms Camilla Nordheim-Larsen, Programme Coordinator, Asia and Pacific
Tel. +39 06 5459 2061
c.nordheim-larsen (at) global-mechanism.org