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Monday, October 2, 2023

African practitioners set common ground for landscape restoration projects

Environmental scientists, leaders and practitioners convened from across Africa in Nairobi, Kenya, for the inaugural GLFx Africa Chapter Summit to interlace their landscape restoration experiences, best practices and challenges.

Africa Chapter Summit
Africa Chapter Summit participants in a group photo with Éliane Ubalijoro, CIFOR-ICRAF CEO. Photo credit: GLF

At the three-day workshop, the experts and community leaders learned from each other, outlined their priorities for the upcoming months and indicated the support they need to maintain and scale their projects.

During the opening of the summit, Éliane Ubalijoro, CEO of the Centre for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF), emphasised the need to go beyond scientific research and technical expertise to achieve much-needed restoration globally.

“We are driven by a deeply rooted commitment to work hand in hand with local and Indigenous communities, NGOs and smallholder farmers. We believe in the wisdom, innovation, expertise and knowledge that exist within these communities and through programs like GLFx that are regreening Africa,” she said.

Alice Kumunda, Communications and Advocacy officer of the GLFx Dowa chapter in Malawi, said that the summit, hosted by the Global Landscapes Forum and Robert Bosch Foundation at the CIFOR-ICRAF campus, “has provided an avenue for learning, networking, reflecting on work, and identifying gaps and areas for improvement, such as project data collection, communication strategy and the development of an effective monitoring and evaluation system.”

The year ahead

Among the summit’s highlights were common priorities for all chapters for the upcoming months. These include agroecology, soil health and food sovereignty training, the setting up of seed banks and tree nurseries, the revival of indigenous seed varieties, internal capacity building, and government collaboration in restoration efforts.

To succeed in their restoration efforts, the chapters called for collaboration to address challenges they face, including in sustainable financing, information sharing, women’s and youth empowerment, cross-learning and exchange programmes, stakeholder mapping and engagement, volunteer recruitment, and publicising their work in traditional and social media, in audiovisual products and at conferences and other events.

“Robert Bosch Foundation embarked on this partnership journey with the GLFx programme three years ago. With the work of the last two years, GLFx has started to fill in an important piece of the puzzle towards empowering landscapes of actors that drive landscape transformation,” said Julia Sonntag, Senior Project Manager at Robert Bosch Stiftung and participant at the summit that united chapters from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, South Sudan and The Gambia.

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