Based on the results of the knowledge compilation activities, this program compiled policy recommendations on the state of natural resource management to be used when considering solutions to the challenges faced by African countries, primarily targeting policymakers and practitioners in the field of natural resource management. The policy recommendations were compiled by briefly presenting the issues, specific measures to resolve key policy issues and expected results for each of the four categories of the NbS approach described above, with an emphasis on clarity and ease of implementation.
1: Effective policy and planning process
Policy recommendation 1: Importance of involving diverse stakeholders from local to national and international level and providing opportunities to exchange views
- One challenge in natural resource management is the many trade-offs existing between forest and natural resources and regional and agricultural development with various competent ministries involved. On this basis, it would be meaningful to establish a cross-sectional coordination mechanism involving multiple organizations as well as scope to utilize a task force for REDD+ with the need to utilize existing resources in mind. These are closely related to the nurturing central/local government administrators responsible for nature conservation, which is a top priority of the “JICA Global Agenda 2030”. Basic data preparation is the first step toward formulating policy and JICA has contributed by establishing a national forest inventory system as a basis for accessing funds through REDD+ implementation in African countries and training candidates to operate the system (1-2.2 DRC, 3-5.19 Uganda).
- It is also important from a sustainable activity perspective. Basic data preparation is the first key step when formulating policy and gaining the understanding of locals who make their livelihoods in and around the project site while implementing the project. It was suggested that ongoing meetings between the government and local communities would be crucial to the process of formulating and implementing policy and that using community facilitators effectively during such meetings would accelerate the involvement of local people and increase the autonomy of those implementing activities (1-1.1 Ghana, 2-2.8 Cameroon).
2: Data-and science-based policy formulation and implementation and montoring and evaluation
Policy recommendation 2: Importance of technical assistance and knowledge-sharing in NbS implementation
In implementing Process 1 (effective policy planning), as well as an institutional framework (governance), goal-setting, ensuring plan implementation and monitoring of the plan from a medium- to long-term perspective are required, hence the need to establish a technical framework (monitoring system).
- As the first step, it is essential to consider forest mapping methods. Specifically, sampling and wall-to-wall method options should be selected depending on the application and resources (2-1.3 Congo, 2-1.4 Botswana, 2-1.7 Cameroon).
- If a national forest monitoring system has not yet been established, tools and systems for forest monitoring on a global level, such as SEPAL and JJ-FAST, can be used. However, with JJ-FAST, the base map is the same globally, likewise the classification of forest and non-forest, etc. However, it should be noted that the JJ-FAST base map is the same globally and the classification of forest/non-forest may differ from the definition of each country.
- When monitoring for localized forest changes, such as illegal logging, combining medium- and high-resolution satellite data and drones can be effective and efficient (2-1.5 Gabon).
- Another effective way to combat forest fires may be to organize a system to predict and disseminate fire danger signals based on satellite data (2-1.6 Botswana).
- Data from peoples’ daily activities such as hunting can provide useful wildlife management indicators (2-2.8 Cameroon).
- Access to knowledge on solving technical problems and examples of climate change measures leveraging the latest technologies through the “Knowledge to Change the World from Africa’s Forests” portal is expected to help streamline the planning, implementation and monitoring of activities in African countries, where consolidating the existing candidates is a challenge. The portal is expected to help elicit efficient planning, implementation and monitoring of activities in African countries that are facing the challenge of consolidating their candidate base.
3: Inclusive and impactful project implementation
Policy recommendation 3:
Establishing countermeasures for the decline and degradation of natural resources
When implementing sustainable natural resource management, there is a need for an integrated approach that analyzes and addresses not only natural science perspectives such as Process 2 (data-based policy implementation and monitoring and evaluation), but also social factors collectively.
- When sustainable land management is implemented to tackle soil degradation, effective results can be expected from the perspective of improving grazing, which is the main cause of land degradation. These may include boosting the nutritional value of pasture grasses, introducing barn feeding and improving variety, as well as alternative livelihood improvement measures (3-2.15 Senegal, 3-2.16 Ethiopia).
- When implementing afforestation in arid and semi-arid areas, the use of long-rooted seedlings and disseminating of semi-arid afforestation techniques among the local community are effective (3-2.13 Botswana, 3-2-14 Kenya).
- Other methods thought to be effective to address natural forest conservation would include implementing afforestation to secure firewood and charcoal, improving effective farming practices to avoid deforestation and introducing agroforestry (3-1.9 Cameroon, 1-2.2 DRC). It was also suggested that zoning can be effective in clarifying forest conservation areas and livelihood enhancement activity areas (3-3.17 Benin). Approaches like these will enable CO2 to be reduced more efficiently while boosting the quality of life for ordinary people.
- When forest conservation and rehabilitation are incorporated in an approach to improve local livelihoods, active participation can be expected due to the direct incentives created (3-5.20 Senegal, 3-6.21 Ethiopia, 3-6.22 Tanzania, 3-6.23 Cameroon, 3-6.24 Burkina Faso). Through collaboration with the private sector, it is expected that forest conservation will be compatible with the revitalization of local economies (e.g. 3-6.21 Ethiopia, 3-6.22 Tanzania, 3-6.24 Burkina Faso and 3-6.26 Tanzania). Conversely, if direct income as an incentive is gone, there is a high risk of the project stalling. In this regard, it would be effective to incorporate social benefits of forest conservation to local people and environmental education into activities in advance (3-1.10 Botswana, 3-2.14 Kenya, 3-6.25 Tunisia).
- When adopting a landscape approach, inclusiveness is expected to improve through stakeholder participation and strengthening conservation area management and spatial planning. Inter-zonal collaboration by coordinating policies on a range of levels is also indispensable (3-1.11 Ethiopia, 3-1.12 Ethiopia, 3-3.17 Benin).
- In industrial plantation, selecting tree species adapted to plantation sites and producing and distributing seedlings in collaboration with private companies may be effective (3-4.18 Kenya).
- In wetland management, it is important to collect the necessary data and develop and implement a data-driven wetland management plan with various stakeholders (3-5.19 Uganda).
- Furthermore, in terms of diverse stakeholder participation and utilizing indigenous knowledge, the involvement of indigenous people in the approach implementation is important and effective (2-2.8 Cameroon).
4: Resources for scaling up operations, etc.
Policy recommendation 4-1: Improve access of African countries to NbS-related funds by not missing the opportunity of the global trend “NbS” for inflow of funds into the natural resource management sector
- Many African countries have difficulty establishing the necessary budgets for environmental conservation due to their financial situations and funds necessary to implement measures are inadequately allocated. Conversely, in addition to multilateral funds, the private sector is introducing funds into the natural resource management sector to achieve GHG reduction targets, a trend reflected in the expansion of the voluntary carbon market. It is hoped that the “Knowledge to Change the World from Africa’s Forests” portal, which organizes and disseminates the insights accumulated through JICA’s projects to date, will help acquire funds efficiently and form new NbS projects by utilizing a portal knowledge database.
- In the area of adaptation, the Joint Climate Declaration and Joint Nature Declaration issued by the Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) at UNFCCC COP26 in November 2021 also clearly stated that the adaptation fund would be increased and support to develop National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) using nature-based solutions (NbS) would be strengthened. Further international capital inflows are expected and projects such as support to develop National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) are likely to increase. In doing so, efficient planning and acquisition of funds are expected by effectively utilizing activities (4-2.29 Malawi, 4-2.30 AI-CD), which are available on the portal site.
Policy recommendation 4-2: Recognizing the role of NbS in green recovery in African countries
The recent outbreak of COVID-19 has decimated the social economies of African countries, which have experienced their first recession in 25 years. COVID-19 directly affected the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target “(Goal 3) Efforts to protect human health” and reminded humankind of the importance of “(Goal 15) Efforts regarding deforestation” that caused the onset of new zoonotic diseases, including COVID-19.
- According to the World Economic Forum, nature, when properly managed, is what underpins society’s long-term well-being, resilience and prosperity. In addition, investment and transition to a nature-positve economy are expected to create 395 million jobs and $10.1 trillion in annual business opportunities. It is important to accelerate the nature-positive economy, including NbS, in African countries to reduce outbreaks of new infectious diseases and remain resilient to climate change.
- The “Knowledge to Change the World from Africa’s Forests” portal also includes case studies (3-1.10 Botswana, 3-6.21 Ethiopia) that focus primarily on environmental conservation and livelihood improvement and are expected to be used as NbS examples of green recovery.
- Dissemination efforts to expand and establish these cases are also important (4-1.27 Ethiopia, 4-1.28 Madagascar, 3-2.15 Senegal).
WEF (2020), The future of Nature and Business, https://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_The_Future_Of_Nature_And_Business_2020.pdf