SLM Dialogues Kenya
SLM Dialogues, Kenya - 2014 Day 2
Learning About the Drylands Development Center
Saturday, 14 June 2014
9:00 am – 11:00 am
The session started with a review of what the participants learnt on the previous day and continued with presentations of guest speakers. Anne Juepner, coordinator of UNDP's Drylands Development Center (DDC). Ms. Juepner spoke about sustainable land management systems and challenges faced by communities living in drylands. She spoke of the DDC’s support to UNDP’s efforts for sustainable management of drylands, as well as DDC’s role in implementing the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) at the country level. According to Ms. Juepner, the main role of the DDC is to carry out policy research and analysis, build partnerships, promote learning, and ensure that such policies get implemented- since according to Ms. Juepner, many countries have excellent policies that never get implemented.
Ms. Juepner's presentation was followed by short remarks from two guest speakers. The first speaker was John Chikomo, a member of Journalists Environmental Association of Tanzania, who briefed the audience about his job and the challenges of raising awareness about sustainable land management in Tanzania. Being a focal point to the UNCCD in Tanzania, Mr. Chikomo's work is aimed at addressing issues related to pollution, desertification, climate change, and forest and land management. He called upon the participants to work with journalists, news media, editors and gatekeepers to increase awareness about the environmental and social effects of extractive industries.
The second speaker was Ernest Compaore, from Secretariat Permanent des ONGs du Burkina FASO (SPONG), who spoke about TerrAfrica, a partnership of various Francophone and Anglophone African countries, as well as international institutions, for sustainable land management. Mr. Compaore explained the workings of the World Bank-led partnership, and the emphasis they place on documenting and sharing best practices among its members.
TerrAfrica Civil Society Coordination Mechanism
11:30 am – 1:00 pm
The speakers in this session focused on TerrAfrica- a World Bank-led partnership- and their civil society coordination mechanism.
Frank Msafiri, of SusWatch Kenya and TerrAfrica's focal point for Anglophone Africa,defined TerrAfrica as a new concept - a collaboration between African civil society organizations (CSOs) and African governments. He talked about the challenges faced by CSOs like his, such as uniting diverse interests, and proper appropriation of World Bank funds. Mr. Msafiri continued to explain that one way to mitigate such challenges is by building capacities for CSOs, like the Equator Initiative was doing.
Ernest Compaore,of Secretariat Permanent des ONGs du Burkina Faso (SPONG) and TerrAfrica's focal point for Francophone Africa, stated that meetings of civil society organizations are rare. Mr. Compaore stated that TerrAfrica organized meetings of CSOs in Anglophone and Francophone countries in 2012 to address CSOs capacity building concerns and to increase the prospects for further collaboration between CSOs and governments.He also stressed that since CSOs are not signatories to international treaties, they must work with their governments at the national level. Through TerrAfrica, each country is encouraged to outline a country-level agenda and form coalitions of CSOs with a common goal to engage and draw attention of large potential donors, such as the World Bank.
Nobert Nyandire of SusWatch Kenya talked about the Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project. The project is being implemented in five East African countries, and institutions such as the World Bank and the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) are providing funding for it. This project was designed to improve collaborative management of natural resources in the Lake Victoria basin, in an environmentally responsible manner.
The session concluded with remarks from Sarah Kisoloof Rural Development Media and Communication (RUDMEC), invited to the workshop by SusWatch Kenya. Ms. Kisolo works on empowering and strengthening communications for marginalized people, and she spoke about a civil society initiative that monitors projects with partner states by communicating with project coordinators and preparing progress reports.
Group Discussions on Breakthrough Strategies
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Participants were divided into three groups, based on the main languages spoken by the workshop attendees: French, English and Swahili. The groups were then given 40 minutes to discuss what they considered as breakthrough strategies for sustainable land management .
The English group suggested raising awareness among community members, increasing community participation, including the communities in ecosystem mapping, and widening the use of agro-forestry technology and practices. This group stressed the importance of community engagement and capacity building at the local level.
The Swahili group highlighted several ways to improve water supplies, including water harvesting. To this end, they explained that communities could be trained on how best to apply technical and traditional methods of preserving water. They also suggested that communities allocate protected areas for wild animals; these areas could then be used to promote tourism, and the earnings of ecotourism could be used to maintain the reserve and improve the livelihoods of the community.
The French group advocated for agro-forestry, biological diversity and land recovery, and expressed hope in resolving relevant problems through reforestation, and a more sustainable land use by farmers.
The facilitator, Ms. Evelyn, supported the suggestions made by the groups by giving examples of such strategies employed in Kenya, while constantly reiterating the importance of sustainable land mangaement practices for the development of sub-Saharan Africa.
Engagement with the UNCCD and Media
4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
The first half of this session was a briefing by Marcos Montorio, NGO and Civil Society Liason Officer at the civil society in the implementation of the UNCCD. Mr. Montoiro explained that the UNCCD has a global presence with members in 195 countries. He called for civil society to be involved at all levels of policy making, participating in the national processes to develop national action plans in their home countries. Mr. Montoiro stated that NGO’s that are expected to collaborate with the government could use the media opportunity provided by the Equator Prize to meet with journalists, thus raising awareness about their organizations and the issues they work on.
Emmanuel Seck, Program Officer from Environmental Development Action in the Third World (ENDA) and focal point for African civil society within the UNCCD, presented the solutions proposed by civil society organizations (CSO) for land management in preparatory meetings for the UNCCD. Mr. Seck spoke about Drynet, an international network focused on sustainable land management and resilience in drylands. He emphasized the need to increase the visibility of the CSO’s activities at the local, national and international levels.
The second half of this session consisted of coaching participants on effective communication with journalists Otula Owuor,a journalist from Kenya, spoke about the importance of local languages in communication, placing emphasis on properly preparing the content before going to the media. He highlighted the importance of credibility as well as familiarity with culturally appropriate language and gestures. He suggested avoiding industry-specific jargon, ensuring that information is conveyed accurately, without any confusions.
Jessica Saba,representing the Equator Initiative and also a journalist, supported the idea that Equator Prize winners carry with them press releases, adding that templates are available online, making drafting easier for organizations. Ms. Saba suggested that press releases include a personal story, the group story, and the plans or goals for the upcoming year. She also urged the winning organizations to make regular updates to their websites, focusing on positive highlights.