The East and Southern Africa (ESA) sub-region is of strategic importance to the work of the Global Mechanism. The ESA programme covers 23 affected countries that are experiencing some of the most compelling development challenges of the millennium. Food insecurity, poverty and conflicts are major problems in some key countries, while drought and floods are increasingly severe.
In the context of poverty reduction, sustainable development and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the UNCCD is seen as a powerful tool for sustainable land management (SLM) in the ESA region, due to the overarching framework that the UNCCD provides for a global partnership to address desertification. Through SLM, ecosystem services can be enhanced through sustainable natural resources management, increasing agricultural productivity and enhancing food security and the livelihoods of rural populations.
The programme thus serves as a gateway for collaboration with countries and key development partners. It has a strong focus on harnessing the potential of the UNCCD to rally commitment and support to increase public awareness and understanding of what desertification is and the cost of inaction at regional, national and local levels. Through enhanced awareness and deeper understanding of the issues at stake, the programme aims to increase investments in SLM.
The ESA programme supports the countries of the region in mobilizing financial and technical resources to implement their action plans to address land degradation, desertification and SLM issues.
The development and implementation of Integrated Financing Strategies (IFS) is at the core of the programme. As part of the IFS, the programme supports mainstreaming SLM into national development frameworks and partnership-building. Through partnerships with governments, bilateral and multilateral development agencies, private business, civil society, sub-regional organizations (such as Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA), the programme aims to promote an integrated, comprehensive and coordinated response to land degradation and desertification, whilst concurrently engaging new partners for collaborative work with the Global Mechanism.
Special initiatives have also been designed to complement country and regional programmes such as the Horn of Africa Initiative.
At the country level the focus is on three priority areas through which to create enabling conditions for investments in SLM:
- mainstreaming SLM and other National Action Programme (NAP) priorities into national policies, strategies and budgeting processes;
- enhancing partnerships between governments and their development partners , to establish country-level financing partnerships; and
- supporting investment programming to catalyse resource mobilization in support of SLM initiatives at the local level.
At the subregional level the programme focuses on targeted policy dialogue to strategically influence decision making on finance, knowledge management and exchange, enhancing coordination of UNCCD implementation, and strengthening the capacity of partner institutions so they can:
- support country-level processes to mobilize and leverage financial resources and investments in SLM;
- exploit the full potential of existing financial mechanisms and identify new sources of funding, especially from innovative sources;
- facilitate information exchange and knowledge-sharing on best practices in SLM and expand the scope of resource mobilization; and
- increase civil society engagement in implementing community-based SLM initiatives.
The ESA programme seeks to broaden the financing base of the UNCCD, by supporting country Parties to mobilize financial resources through innovative programming, including private-sector engagement, payment for environmental services, and adaptation to climate change.
The programme also supports the implementation of Multilateral Environmental Agreements by building linkages with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biodiversity, thereby providing access to a broader range of resources for UNCCD implementation.
For more information
Mr Kwame Awere-Gyekye
Programme Coordinator, East and Southern Africa
Tel. +39 06 5459 2199