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Africa at a meso-scale: Adaptive and integrated tools and strategies for natural resources management

Periodic Report Summary - AFROMAISON (Africa at a meso-scale: Adaptive and integrated tools and strategies for natural resources management)

Project context and objectives:

Project context

Natural resources are essential for maintaining or improving people's livelihood, especially in Africa. Integrated management of natural resources (INRM) is a way to maintain ecosystems capacity to produce a broad range of goods and services considering African socio-economic conditions and institutional frames. Despite the availability of many tools, expertise, local practices and indigenous knowledge, the concept of INRM has hardly been brought into practice and the building blocks in many cases still need to be integrated.

Effective INRM in many cases is not achieved due to a lack of exchange of information and a lack of coordination between many actors involved at different scales. Furthermore, external pressures are affecting the availability of natural resources. Many of the poorest people in the world typically are highly vulnerable to external shocks (e.g. drought, floods, famine, disease outbreaks).

AFROMAISON is making use of what is available to contribute to a better integration of the main components of natural resource management into a coherent integrated and adaptive management process at meso-scale. We define the meso-scale as that level (sub-national) to which power has shifted after decentralization in many countries in Africa. Due to the relative youth of meso-scale authorities and institutions, their capacity for integrated natural resources management (INRM) needs to be strengthened. From a natural resources point of view, the meso-scale corresponds to a landscape, ecosystems or a river (sub)basin.

The challenge of AFROMAISON is to provide a holistic toolbox and operational framework for INRM that can be applied in a variety of environmental and socio-economic conditions in Africa. At the same time, following a participatory analysis of opportunities and challenges, it provides participatory management options for operational INRM, which are both embedded in local traditions and culture, and are scientifically sound.

The objectives

The overall research objective of AFROMAISON is to contribute to bring the concept of Integrated Natural Resources Management (INRM) into practice at the meso-scale. For this purpose, we will develop an integrated toolbox and operational framework for INRM, based on the available tools, data, capacity and requirements for sub-national authorities.

Specific objectives are:
Objective 1: To identify opportunities, challenges and operational requirements for the adoption of tools, strategies and methodologies at the meso-scale
Objective 2: To provide a holistic and multi-disciplinary framework for long-term integrated natural resources management, in line with sustainable development principles
Objective 3: To improve the capacity of sub-national authorities on INRM to assure economic and social well-being of communities
Objective 4: To improve the exchange and transfer of information and procedures for communication on natural resources management
Objective 5: To contribute to bring concepts for INRM into operational practice, including vulnerability, ecosystem goods and services, adaptation to global change (including climate change)
Objective 6: To evaluate and inter-compare promising tools and strategies on applicability, suitability (fit-for-purpose), sustainability for livelihood and ecosystem, cost-effectiveness (incl. impact) and cultural acceptance.

AFROMAISON is part of the FP7-AFRICA-2010 call jointly implemented by Theme 1: 'Health', Theme 2: 'Food, Agriculture and fisheries, and Biotechnology' and Theme 6: 'Environment (including climate change)'. The aim of this call is to address some of the Science and Technology objectives of the 'Africa - EU Strategic Partnership' putting emphasis on 'Water and Food Security' and 'Better Health for Africa'.

Project Results:

Summary of the work performed

The AFROMAISON project has developed an operational framework to improve adaptive and integrated management of natural resources in Africa, at meso-scale. This framework is being tested in five case study areas in Africa: Tunisia, Mali, Ethiopia, Uganda and South Africa.

The framework is a stepwise approach that assists the natural resource manager to analyse the context, identify issues, develop scenarios, identify options and integrate these into strategies. Subsequently the resulting integrated strategies are tested on acceptance and suitability.

A rapid assessment (Operational Framework Phase 1.1 / WP2) was undertaken in all case studies, using a variety of methods; namely secondary data collection, Participatory Landscape Appraisal (PaLA), Participatory Analysis of Poverty, Livelihoods and Environmental Dynamics (PAPOLD), Rapid Appraisal of Drivers of Land Use Change (DriLUC), and Rapid Agroforestry Practices, Systems and Technologies (RAFT).

Stakeholders have participated in a visioning exercise and the formulation of scenarios (Operational Framework Phase 1.2 /WP6). A focal issue was defined for all case studies and conceptual maps (Cmaps) were developed in order to understand, discuss and structure case study-specific problems.

A comprehensive climate report was delivered for all case studies using the WATCH forcing data. The statistical regional climate model was applied to all cases and the dynamical regional climate models REMO and CCLM were applied for the Rwenzori, Fogera, and Drakensberg case studies.

For the purpose of quantitative assessment of vulnerability, the eco-hydrological model SWIM is being set up in case studies to quantify changes of land use management and climate change on the water balance and crop production.

Option identification (Operational Framework Phase 2 / WP3,4,7) has started in all case studies and is leading to the development of strategies (Operational Framework Phase 3 / WP3,7).

A framework for assessment of options linked to the phases of operational framework has been agreed. The steps include;
(1) Identification of a 'long-list' of possible management options,
(2) Screening and suitability analysis of potential options to produce a 'short list' of proposed interventions,
(3) Comparison and ranking of the effectiveness,
(4): Detailed evaluation of the potential impacts and outcomes, and
(5) design of monitoring and evaluation plan.

Tools for identifying interventions and assessing suitability as well as tools for strategy formulation have been reviewed. These include:
(1) Participatory approaches (including WATAGAME, 'Happy Strategies' game, 'innovation platform', participatory video, and linking to district government stakeholder processes),
(2) system dynamics approaches, and
(3) spatial planning approaches.

A Decision Support Tool has been developed - based on a review of economic instruments - to assist the process of context-specific-instrument matching with the aim of highlighting the economic instruments that have the greatest potential to create meaningful incentives to change the behaviour of people to improve the way they use and manage environment in a specific contexts.

Also a review of spatial tools (WP5) has been undertaken based on literature and case studies. Approaches for spatial mapping of landscape functioning using ecosystem services are being tested in all case studies.

A Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) has been put in place with as primary objective to provide a basis for geospatial data discovery, evaluation and application. The brokering approach has been adopted to find, access, and integrate various types of data coming from different scientific or non-scientific communities.

Potential Impact:

The expected final result

The final products that will be delivered at the end of the project are a guideline for natural resource managers and facilitators explaining the stepwise process of context analysis, option assessment, strategy building and testing, as well as how this process can be customized to fit local circumstances, and a toolbox allowing the users to chose between a number of tools that fits his/her needs.

The process needs to be flexible in such a way that it can be applied in a wide range of differing contexts, and that it can be embedded in existing planning and management processes. At each step the natural resource manager or process facilitator is offered a number of tools that may assist him or her in achieving particular goals. Tools are presented with varying degrees of complexity, resource or capacity needs.

The toolbox is meant to be an open ended toolbox. Besides a number of AFROMAISON developed and tested tools it will lead users to existing resources available on the web and will encourage a community of practitioners to keep adding resources.

The manual and toolbox will be complemented with case studies, demonstrating how the framework can be customized and how different tools can be applied.

The guideline and toolbox will be supported by examples from the case studies.

Expected impact

To create impact, traditional sectoral and scattered management approaches need to move towards more integrative and adaptive approaches. The framework and tools that AFROMAISON is developing can support this process.

In order to create impact, two levels need to be addressed. Policy makers need to be convinced and natural resource managers need the right skills. Therefore, AFROMAISON during the second project period will focus on two main action areas;

1.To create impact we need to raise awareness and convince influential people at these levels. One or two well targeted policy events will be scheduled for showcasing success stories.
2.To create impact we need to train people in the use of integrated and participatory approaches, this includes training NRM mangers and process facilitators (e.g. NGO-staff, local consultants). For this purpose we are looking into the possibilities for setting up a summer course in English and in French.

List of Websites: