GDSA Supports Uganda-Costa Rica Exchange on Sustainable Development

GDSA Supports Uganda-Costa Rica Exchange on Sustainable Development

The Minister for Water and Environment of the Republic of Uganda Hon. Sam Cheptoris and other key officials were part of the six-day policy exchange to the Central American country that’s feted globally for leadership in sustainable development.

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New guide helps countries tap into funding for sustainable coffee production

PHOTO: © Thomas Muller/Conservation International

PHOTO: © Thomas Muller/Conservation International

August, 2018 —A new guide highlights how coffee-growing countries in Africa and beyond can best tap into new funding opportunities from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to increase coffee productivity and quality and to make their coffee sectors more sustainable environmentally, economically and socially in the face of growing threats posed by climate change to the sector.

The guide published by the International Coffee Organization (ICO) and the Sustainable Coffee Challenge (SCC) initiative, focuses on funding available for the first time for coffee under the GEF’s latest four-year replenishment cycle (2018-2022).

Established in 1992, the GEF is an international financial mechanism to help tackle the most pressing environmental challenges facing the globe while supporting national sustainable development initiatives. Its membership includes 183 countries as well as international institutions, civil society organizations and the private sector. 

“Actors from across the coffee sector need to drive investments to help ensure the continued sustainability of coffee production in light of the pressing challenges presented by climate change," said José Sette, Executive Director of ICO, a London-based multilateral organization.

“To date coffee projects received just US$32.8 million GEF funds, representing less than 0.2% of the total GEF funding pot, and US$223 million in co-financing. The coffee sector needs to take full advantage of such financing mechanisms and act swiftly to unlock green and climate finance by promoting practices, strategies and enablers for a climate resilient coffee supply chain and economy”. 

Bambi Semroc, Vice-President for Sustainable Markets and Strategy at Conservation International—which, together with global coffee chain Starbucks, founded the Sustainable Coffee Challenge— said:  “The opportunity of GEF  is extremely timely for the global coffee sector, as nearly every major coffee-producing landscape is under stress due to the impact of climate change.”

“Rising temperatures, droughts and changing weather patterns are predicted to reduce the overall land suitable for growing coffee by 50%. As traditional growing areas decrease, farmers may look to plant coffee in protected locations situated in biodiversity hotspots, such as forested areas located higher up on mountainsides that are designated for conservation,” added Semroc.

For countries to access GEF funding for coffee, they need to first choose and work through a GEF Implementing Agency (IA), which are 18 in total. GEF IAs that are active in the coffee sector include: Conservation International, FAO, IFAD, UNDP, UNEP, UNIDO and the World Bank. 

GEF’s official call for “Expression of Interest (EOI)” is expected by end of September this year while the deadline for submissions of EOIs is by end of this year. Evaluation and selection of qualified submissions is by end of January 2019. 

The GEF Secretariat and the Lead Agencies will evaluate and select an initial batch of submissions which will be considered at the June 2019 Council meeting. 

An additional deadline or EOIs will be established during 2019 for countries that need more to express their interests, after which a second batch of qualified submissions will be presented for consideration at a subsequent Council meeting. 

The process for the preparation of project concepts for the GEF-7 Replenishment cycle has already started. A number of GEF Implementing Agencies have already started scoping exercises and are working with governments to gain insights into priorities for coffee sector. 

The main coffee producers in Africa include Ethiopia, Uganda, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Tanzania but the commodity is also produced in varying quantities in Tanzania, Cameroon, Madagascar, Gabon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Togo, Guinea, Central African Republic, Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Angola, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Liberia and Zambia.  Globally, the top producers are Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia and Ethiopia.

Both ICO and SSC said they will be developing further support guides on international financing opportunities to help drive investments in the coffee sector to address the global impact of climate change and enhance sustainability. 

Launched in 2015, the SCC initiative brings together governments, industry players — traders, roasters, retailers, etc.— NGOs, universities, donor agencies and certification bodies to make the production and consumption of coffee more sustainable in the face of threats posed by climate change. The GDSA is promoting SCC among its member countries. 


Assessing critical benefits of natural ecosystems to human well-being is now simpler

Ally Jamah and Benson Kibiti

August, 2018—Accurately measuring and valuing the critical benefits that protected areas and key biodiversity sites render to human well-being is now considerably simpler—and so is making the case for their enhanced protection.

Harenna forest in Ethiopia. Photo by Robin Moore/Conservation International

Harenna forest in Ethiopia. Photo by Robin Moore/Conservation International

This is thanks to a new system of ‘decision trees’ that cuts down on the time and complexity of selecting the most appropriate tool from the available tools for evaluating Ecosystem Services’—or the benefits provided by natural ecosystems and biodiversity sites to humans.

These benefits may include provision of water, air and water filtration, flood protection, carbon storage, pollination of crops, ecotourism, recreation, income opportunities and habitats for wildlife among many others.

Such benefits may often be downplayed or ignored by governments, private sector and communities when evaluating trade-offs between nature protection and competing national development projects. 

This new system of 'decision trees' is contained in a guidance report prepared by international experts in the field, including from  Conservation International, which is also the secretariat to the Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa, an African-led, 13-nation. initiative that seeks to enhance valuation of natural resources and their benefits to humans and their incorporation into national development plans and projects.

The report, “Tools for measuring, modelling, and valuing ecosystem services: Guidance for Key Biodiversity Areas, natural World Heritage sites, and protected areas,” has been issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s World Commission on Protected Areas (IUCN-WCPA).

 “Many protected and biodiversity site managers and researchers want to understand how their sites are benefiting people, but are overwhelmed by the number of tools for ecosystem services that are available,” says lead author Rachel Neugarten of Conservation International.  “This guide will help them pick a tool based on the goals of their assessment, the kinds of information they need, and the time and resources they have.”

This development is good news to the GDSA member countries which have committed to mainstreaming the value and benefits of ‘natural capital’ in their development plans.

Identifying and quantifying the benefits provided by these key protected and biodiversity sites can help decision-makers and protected area managers justify the importance of conserving them. It can also help attract new sources of funding and manage the sites more effectively.

Protected areas, including natural World Heritage sites, as well as Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs), play a crucial role in securing the long-term delivery of ecosystem services, as nature is becoming increasingly degraded or lost elsewhere, including in surrounding areas. 

Safeguarding these key areas is therefore important not only for biodiversity conservation but also for sustaining human well-being. 

Former Botswana President and GDSA Chair Joins Conservation International as Distinguished Fellow




By Ally Jamah

July 2018: Former Botswana President and Chairperson of the Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa (GDSA) Dr. Ian Khama has agreed to lend his political and diplomatic weight to further advance sustainable development and wildlife protection in Africa by becoming a Distinguished Fellow for environmental non-profit  Conservation International (CI).

In his new role, Dr. Khama —who voluntarily stepped down from power at the end of March this year — will represent CI across Africa and build on his decades-long legacy of forging a more sustainable development path for the region.

Dr. Khama has been a driving force behind the GDSA and will continue to work with member countries of the initiative that seeks to enhance sustainable development in Africa. He will also engage more nations in the continent to align economic development with sustainability goals.

CI has been the secretariat for GDSA since 2014, providing technical and financial support for the 14 member-states of the initiative after the government of Botswana delegated the role to the conservation non-profit.

Dr. Khama will also work with the international community to combat the illegal wildlife trade through the Elephant Protection Initiative, a multi-national coalition of 18 African countries with CI being a co-secretariat. 

Building on his success in helping to make Botswana a beacon of sustainable tourism, Khama will also continue to provide leadership in ensuring tourism supports the region’s environmental and cultural heritage.

“What President Khama brings to Conservation International is immeasurable. For decades, he has provided us with a unique perspective as an exceptional leader who shares our commitment to securing nature for the benefit of people. We’re thrilled to continue to benefit from his vision and institutional knowledge to preserve Africa’s rich natural resources,” said Conservation International Chairman Peter Seligmann.

“Over 30 years ago, Conservation International was founded on the principle that community-led conservation was the approach that best benefited people and ecosystems. President Khama embodies this approach and has successfully led environmental initiatives in Botswana and the broader African region to implement this idea. We are honored to have President Khama continue to lend us his leadership and expertise as a Distinguished Fellow,” said Conservation International CEO Dr. M. Sanjayan.

Launched in 2012, GDSA is an African-led inter-governmental action platform that emphasizes sustainability and incorporating the true value of natural resources in economic planning and development across member states.

GDSA members include Kenya, Gabon, Botswana, Liberia, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.

A number of regional and global platforms have endorsed the GDSA. These include the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN), the United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA), and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.