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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

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Highlights for Thursday, 26 September 2013
Rio Conventions Pavilion at UNCCD COP11

The Rio Conventions Pavilion convened for Sustainable Land Management (SLM) Day on Thursday, 26 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. SLM Day included sessions on: implementing, documenting and sharing proven SLM approaches and practices - closing the loop between field and policy; SLM strategic investment frameworks - country experiences and success stories; UN Information Portal on Multilateral Environmental Agreements (InforMEA) knowledge management for implementation of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs); and the importance of accurate soil data - isotope studies supporting evidence for combating desertification. The day ended with a reception.

Students visit the Rio Conventions Pavilion from Hochland High School, Windhoek, Namibia
Implementing, Documenting and Sharing Proven SLM Approaches and Practices: Closing the Loop between the Field and Policy

Thursday morning at the Rio Conventions Pavilion opened with a panel sharing experiences in audiovisual tools and training methods for farmers on SLM principles and technologies, and participatory collaboration between farmers and scientists.

One speaker presented work on enhancing existing knowledge on SLM with video and new media tools for knowledge sharing. He explained that, in all videos produced by the network, land users share personal experiences on technologies, including: implementation and practice; local and regional impacts; and adaptability to climatic changes.

Two videos shown to participants demonstrated climate-smart agricultural practices in Tajikistan, and principles for improving land productivity and protecting the environment, which include: reducing evaporation and soil erosion; harvesting water; conserving soil fertility; and maintaining microclimates. On building up knowledge, the speaker said that the network is working on instructional manuals for standardized videos, and called for intensification of extension services and involvement of local governments.

A speaker from Iran discussed experiences in evolutionary plant breeding, which uses high genetic diversity in crops to increase resilience to climatic variability. A video on participatory research and breeding explained how the method has been successfully implemented in several regions in Iran, resulting in increased crop resilience, biodiversity and sustained incomes.

Panelists concluded that farmers are great decision makers but need options and access to technologies, and that off-site benefits of small-scale farming need to be better communicated to the policy level.

Panel (L-R): Hanspeter Liniger, World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT); Noel Oettle, Environmental Monitoring Group; and Khadija Razavi, Centre for Sustainable Development (CENESTA).
Hanspeter Liniger, WOCAT
Noel Oettle, Environmental Monitoring Group
Khadija Razavi, CENESTA

SLM Strategic Investment Framework: Country Experiences and Success Stories

On Thursday afternoon, this panel gave an overview of the SLM Strategic Investment Framework provided by a panelist from the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and presented country experiences from Niger, Ghana and Ethiopia in the implementation of the framework.

The representative from the FAO noted the need to continue work, as famine and hunger remain challenges despite hard work since the 1970s. He highlighted the sectoral approach of the framework and noted three types of obstacles: nature; technology; and distribution of knowhow. He called for developing a common vision on grassroots investments.

A speaker highlighted that a detailed SLM programme has been implemented since 2005 in Niger. He said that the strategic investment plan aims to ensure SLM through land rehabilitation. He noted that investment is directed towards local levels to ensure the sustainability of agriculture. He stressed the importance of increasing partner investments, as the need for funding is growing.

A panelist highlighted the GEF-funded project supporting SLM in northern Ghana. He described progress, including development of a GIS-based monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system, a sustainable land and water management (SLWM) technology manual and draft environmental indices, among others.

Another speaker discussed Ethiopia’s national SLM programme, noting that phase one, which included interventions in 35 watersheds, is ending and that the process of finalizing development partner investments to scale up the programme in phase two is underway.

Panel (L-R): Isaac Acquah, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Ghana; Mamoudou Idrissa, National Environmental Council for a Sustainable Development Executive Secretariat (SE/CNEDD), Niger; Kwame Awere-Gyekye, Global Mechanism (GM); François Tapsoba, FAO; and Million Alemayehu, Organization for Rehabiltation and Development in Amhara (ORDA), Ethiopia.
Kwame Awere-Gyekye, GM
Million Alemayehu, ORDA, Ethiopia
François Tapsoba, FAO

InforMEA Knowledge Management for Implementation of MEAs
A short afternoon session presented key features of the InforMEA portal, developed by the MEA Information and Knowledge Management (IKM) Initiative that brings together 43 international and regional legally binding instruments to share information in an easily accessible format and to increase interoperability and cost efficiency. Presenting highlights of the portal, a member of the UNCCD secretariat explained it provides easy access to resolutions, National Focal Points (NFPs), and other related information on participating MEAs.
Panel (L-R): Rita Benitez, UNCCD Secretariat; and David Ainsworth, Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Secretariat.
Rita Benitez, UNCCD Secretariat
David Ainsworth, CBD Secretariat
InforMEA presentation

The Importance of Accurate Soil Data: Isotope Studies Supporting Evidence for Combating Desertification

The final session on Thursday explored how nuclear science is contributing to evidence-based soil and water conservation.

A speaker from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) described the agency’s technical cooperation (TC) programme and the Practical Agreement with the UNCCD, signed in April 2013. She said that TC’s work in agricultural water and soil management focuses on capacity development and research support, and encompasses all regions, with nearly 60 ongoing projects. On the benefits of the IAEA-UNCCD partnership, she mentioned evidence-based soil and land management studies, input into UNCCD National Action Programmes (NAPs), and cooperation among UNCCD NFPs and IAEA counterparts. She described initial thoughts on a science-policy interface that could support national development planning through IAEA’s programmes, departments and laboratories.

The panel included two videos showing the application of nuclear and isotopic techniques to develop water-efficient cropping systems, including drip irrigation, to ensure food security in 19 African countries. A scientist explained how isotope techniques are used in Kenya for assessing water and nitrogen use efficiency in maize intercropping systems for functional rainwater harvesting and nutrient management options.

Panel (L-R): Isaya Vincent Sijali, Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI); Susanne Nebel, IAEA; and Crammer Kayuki Kaizzi, National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO), Uganda.
Isaya Vincent Sijali, KARI
Susanne Nebel, IAEA
Crammer Kayuki Kaizzi, NARO

(L-R): Mari Luomi, Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB); Veronica Lo, CBD Secretariat; and Anna Schulz, ENB.
The close of the Rio Conventions Pavilion saw rain in the driest country in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The reception gets underway.
Hanspeter Liniger, WOCAT, and Frans Koolike, Koolike Consultancy CC

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