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. 


Uganda joins the Sustainable Coffee Challenge!

April 2018 – Following a joint mission between the Sustainable Coffee Challenge and the GDSA Secretariat to Uganda in February, the Sustainable Coffee Challenge has announced a new collaboration with the Government of Uganda to work together to establish coffee as the first sustainably-grown agricultural product. This announcement was made during the 121st session of the International Coffee Organization's Coffee Council in Mexico City, Mexico.

"This new partnership show a willingness of governments to work collaboratively to ensure our ability to meet the growing demand for coffee in a way that supports economic development among producers and conserves the unique tropical ecosystems in which coffee grows," said Bambi Semroc, Vice President of Sustainable Markets and Strategy at Conservation International.   

Uganda's participation in the Challenge builds on the country's 'Coffee Roadmap', which sets out the ambitious target to increase annual production from 3 million to 20 million bags of coffee per year by 2025. Uganda is the second GDSA member country to join the Sustainable Coffee Challenge (Rwanda being the first). Two other countries - Mexico and Costa Rica - have also joined the Challenge.

"Coffee production is integral to the Ugandan economy as it contributes to 20 to 30 percent of our exports," said Dr. Emmanuel Iyamulemye, Managing Director of the Uganda Coffee Development Authority. "We are excited about this new partnership with the Challenge, which will allow us to realize the targets in the 'Coffee Roadmap' by tapping into ways we can renovate and rehabilitate our coffee production sustainably for our smallholder farmers who are the majority of our coffee growers."

The Sustainable Coffee Challenge, formed by Conservation International and Starbucks and launched during the Paris climate meetings in 2015, is uniting players from across the coffee industry – growers, traders, roasters, retailers, governments and nongovernmental organizations. It aims to stimulate greater demand for sustainable coffee while partnering to find solutions to mitigate impacts of climate change and other stressors.

The Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa (GDSA) Secretariat is working to promote the Sustainable Coffee Challenge in its member countries, as a platform that helps countries move towards implementing the second GDSA Action Statement. More information about the collaboration can be found in a joint case study published by the GDSA and the Sustainable Coffee Challenge, available online.

About the Sustainable Coffee Challenge
The Sustainable Coffee Challenge convenes, unites and urges the coffee sector and conservation partners across the industry to spur the actions and investments necessary to make coffee the first sustainable agriculture product in the world. The Challenge is committed to stimulating demand for sustainable coffee across the value chain, from the policymaking level to the final consumer. By encouraging demand for sustainable coffee, it leads to investments that enable the transition to a sustainable production and ensuring the coffee we drink is a sustainable product.

About the Uganda Coffee Development Authority
Uganda Coffee Development Authority was established by an Act of Parliament 1991 and amended in 1994, Cap. 325 under the laws of the Republic of Uganda. Uganda Coffee Development Authority is established as a public authority and its mandate is to promote and oversee the coffee industry by supporting research, promoting production, controlling the quality and improving the marketing of coffee in order to optimize foreign exchange earnings for the country and payments to the farmers.

 © Conservation International/photo by Miguel Ángel de la Cueva

© Conservation International/photo by Miguel Ángel de la Cueva

The Secretariat continues successful visits with member countries

April 2018: Building on our February visits to select GDSA member countries in East Africa, the GDSA Secretariat is pleased to have visited Ghana in March and Lesotho in April of this year.

In regards to our visit to Ghana, the GDSA Deputy Executive Secretary and Sr. Technical Director were hosted by the Government on March 22nd and 23rd. During these two days, we were pleased to meet with the Deputy Minister for Environment, Science, Technology & Innovation (MESTI), Hon. Patricia Appiagyei, who reiterated the Government's support for the GDSA. We were further given the opportunity to meet with a range of stakeholders in government including within MESTI, the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), and the Vice President's Office. As a result of these meetings, the GDSA Secretariat has agreed to sponsor the participation of the Hon. Deputy Minister to attend the Global Bamboo and Rattan Congress in China later this year. In addition, we will begin working with the EPA to identify opportunities around natural capital accounting and policy-oriented south-south learning exchanges.

In Namibia, we were likewise warmly welcomed by our GDSA Focal Point and the Honorable Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism. Following these meetings, which were attended by the GDSA Executive Secretary and Deputy Executive Secretary, there was a small roundtable discussion, open to a range of government and non-government stakeholders designed to increase awareness of the GDSA in Namibia. These meetings helped confirm a range of opportunities for the Secretariat to support work in Namibia. For example, a delegate from Namibia will be included on a GDSA-organized learning exchange to Costa Rica happening later this year.

Looking forward, the Secretariat continues to work towards its aim of visiting every member country in 2018. These visits are designed to strengthen the Secretariat's ties with member countries and to identify opportunities for continued implementation of the GDSA vision.

The GDSA Secretariat to participate in two-year working group on sustainable water

April 2018: The GDSA Secretariat is pleased to announce that it has been invited to participate in a multi-year working group (also known as a 'Pursuit'), funded by SESYNC, that aims to increase understanding of how water resources can be sustainably managed in urban areas in Africa. The Pursuit - which is being led by colleagues from the City College of New York (USA) and Conservation International - will involve a team of 19 experts meeting four times between mid-2018 and end-2019. Of relevance to the GDSA member countries, the outputs of the Pursuit will include case studies for two of the GDSA member countries which will aim to provide policy-relevant recommendations for how natural and blended infrastructure can be used to support water sustainability targets under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

More information about the project can be found on the SESYNC website, here.

Photographs courtesy of © Benjamin Drummond.

The GDSA Secretariat participates in sustainability events across the continent

March 2018: The GDSA Secretariat continues to proactively attend, and be invited to, a range of regional and international events on sustainability in Africa. These events are often excellent opportunities to connect with representatives of our member countries as well as with the donor community and civil society. Here is a brief look at some events we've attended this year so far.

Closing regional workshop of the United Nations project to support development of environmental-economic accounting (Nairobi, Kenya)

The GDSA Secretariat was invited to present at the the Closing Regional Workshop for the United Nations Development Account Project, organized by the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) in collaboration with Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, UNECA, UN Environment and the World Bank. At the workshop, which took place in December 2017 in Nairobi, representatives from six GDSA countries presented on their natural capital accounting efforts, including new accounts that had been developed under the project by Uganda and Kenya. It was a great opportunity for participants to share their experience and discuss lessons learnt on the implementation on environmental-economic accounts as well as how to best communicate and disseminate the outputs of these efforts to affect decision-making.

Conservation Agreements training (Maun, Botswana)

From January 22nd - 24th, the GDSA Secretariat participated in a training offered by Conservation International (CI) to UNDP staff, partners, and farmers on Conservation Agreements. Conservation Agreements (CA) are a replicable rangelands management tool, and the GDSA Secretariat is facilitating fundraising efforts to expand efforts utilizing CA across Southern Africa.

Conservation International's Strategic Meetings on Sustainable Production and Climate Change

Conservation International (CI) invited the GDSA Secretariat to participate in two separate strategy meetings on sustainable production and climate change. The first meeting, took place in Nairobi in January, was designed to help inform CI's Africa strategy and action plan for sustainable production in the coming years. The GDSA Secretariat had the opportunity to present to CI colleagues and to a range of external partners as well, on the value of the GDSA for promoting sustainable production. For the second meeting, which took place in Washington, DC (USA) this month, the Executive Secretary for the GDSA participated in strategy sessions aimed at helping CI develop its global work on climate change issues.

World Wetlands Day celebration (Gaborone, Botswana)

The GDSA Secretariat facilitated a panel discussion at this year's World Wetlands Day celebration in Botswana on February 2nd. Hosted by the Botswana Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism the event was called, “Wetlands for a sustainable urban future” in Gaborone. The panel discussion provided with an opportunity for bringing together various stakeholders involved in biodiversity conservation and ecosystem management, including policy and decision makers in a forum to discuss the importance of conserving and managing wetlands as a means for obtaining a sustainable urban future.

ESPA African Final Conference (Nairobi, Kenya)

In March 2017, the GDSA Secretariat was happy to be invited to participate in the final workshop held by the Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) program. Taking place in Nairobi this conference brought together policymakers, practitioners, and researchers to reflect on how new approaches to managing Africa's ecosystems could help empower vulnerable communities, improve wellbeing, and progress sustainable development. Through a process of presentations and group discussions, participants helped to shape a 'call to action' declaration for African decision makers, connecting key insights from across the whole 8-year ESPA programme to some of Africa's most pertinent issues relating to social and ecological systems.

Giants Club Summit (Kasane, Botswana)

Finally, the GDSA Secretariat was invited to participate in the Giants Club Summit (15-17 March) which took place in Kasane, Botswana. Not only was the GDSA logo on the program brochure but our Executive Secretary moderated a panel on the "Opportunities for the Okavango River Basin" which focused on discussing the need to manage natural capital and ecosystem service flows across national boundaries. The Summit was attended by the President of Botswana, Ministers of Environment from several GDSA countries, and a range of key players in the fight to save elephants in Africa. During the meeting, the GDSA Executive Secretary had the chance to meet briefly with Ministers from Uganda and Gabon as well as the new Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Environment.

GDSA Secretariat visits East African member countries

February 2018: The Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa (GDSA) Secretariat arranged to visit three of its East African member countries in February 2018 including Uganda, Rwanda, and Kenya. As per the current GDSA Secretariat work plan (presented and agreed to with the Focal Points during the October 2017 Focal Points Meeting) and aligned with the Maun Ministers’ Statement (October 2017), the Secretariat undertook these trips to re-engage with the member countries and understand their priorities in terms of implementing the Declaration.

As such, the objectives of the trip were to engage on issues such as resource mobilization and joint program implementation opportunities. In addition, the trips were designed to ensure action on key points of the Maun Statement.

During the trips, the GDSA Secretariat succeeded in meeting the countries' Focal Points as well as their colleagues from a range of ministries and agencies. In Uganda, the Secretariat also met with the Minister of Water and Environment as well. When possible, the Secretariat worked to meet with non-government actors as well, including potential donors and civil society.

A report has been produced and summarizes the key meetings held in each of the three countries along with the next steps agreed to with those member countries. This report can be accessed here.

UN Environment and Government of Botswana sign MOU to implement work under the Gaborone Declaration

NAIROBI, 9th March 2018: The Permanent Representative of Botswana to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) H.E John Moreti and the Executive Director of UNEP Mr. Erik Solheim, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Government of the Republic of Botswana and the United Nations Environment Programe (UNEP) on Cooperation in the Field of Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication within the context of implementing the Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa (GDSA).

The MoU, among others, provides a framework to facilitate collaboration between UN Environment and the GDSA signatory countries in pursuit of sustainable management of natural capital for sustainable development and poverty eradication.

"The MoU between the Government of Botswana and UN Environment offers the best opportunity to map out concrete collaboration," said H.E. John Moreti following the signing. "This will help actualize the vision of our leaders, who recognize the clear linkage between the natural resources of our continent and sustainable development planning."

The signing ceremony, which took place in Nairobi at the UN Environment headquarters, was witnessed by the GDSA Deputy Executive Secretary Mr. Disikalala Gaseitsiwe of the Government of Botswana. "This signing ceremony has taken place during a time in which there is growing interest and momentum in the GDSA. We welcome this new commitment for progress under the GDSA and look forward to working closely with UN Environment," he said.

During the signing ceremony, the two signatories noted the progress made by the GDSA in supporting sustainable development programs in member countries and expressed the hope that the momentum so far generated could be maintained. 

"Being an original signatory of the 2012 Gaborone Declaration, UN Environment has been on a journey with the GDSA countries since the very beginning. It is wonderful to see this genuine commitment by UN Environment to continue working with us moving forward, especially following their presence at last year's GDSA Forum of Ministers meeting in Botswana," said Mr. Ruud Jansen, Executive Secretary of the GDSA.

The Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa (GDSA) is an initiative initiated by ten African countries that came together in May 2012 for the Summit on Sustainability in Africa, to discuss the future of Africa in preparation for the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development. The summit resulted in the Gaborone Declaration, in which countries committed to the following:

  • Integrating the value of natural capital into national accounting and corporate planning and reporting processes, policies, and programs;
  • Building social capital and reducing poverty by transitioning agriculture, extractive industries, fisheries, and other natural capital uses to practices that promote sustainable employment, food security, sustainable energy and the protection of natural capital through protected areas and other mechanisms;
  • Building knowledge, data capacity and policy networks to promote leadership and new models in the field of sustainable development and to increase momentum for positive change.

Currently, the GDSA has 13 member counties including the Kingdom of Lesotho who recently joined as an associate member.