GEF – UNDP – FAO PROJECT: REDUCING RATE OF LOSS OF BIODIVERSITY AT SELECTED CROSS BORDERS SITES IN EAST AFRICA.
DISCUSSION NOTE: THE
CONCEPT AND PRACTICE OF REGIONALISM.
Regionalism was a key concept in the initial design of
the project; with governments wanting to see synergies of working together to
secure conservation and sustainable utilisation of biodiversity at a variety of
levels. This desire preceded the cross border nature of the project; as the
first design suggested major forest blocks away from borders. This desire to
some extent was based on successes from an earlier GEF Project: Institutional
Support for the Conservation of East African Biodiversity, 1992-96.
The evaluation report on the first project had this to say on
co-operation in East Africa in the area of environmental management and
biodiversity conservation is particularly effective because the countries form a
mega-biodiversity region and either share, or have in common, a variety of
ecosystems. The countries should continue to work together on issues of mutual
concern, and share and learn from each other’s experience.
evaluation team believes there will still be major advantages in a regional
approach in the future as emphasis switches to field activities and that these
advantages are not necessarily dependent on the activities being focused on
selected field sites located in trans-boundary areas. On the contrary, wherever
there are common ecosystems, common threats, and/or common training needs among
the three countries, there will be advantages in regional exchanges of
experiences and expertise and sharing of training resources.
Discussions with GEFSec focused attention on
cross-border site pairs of forest areas:
Swamp Forest: Minziro to Sango Bay (Tz to Ug)
Eastern Arc Forest: Taita Hills to South Pare Mts (Ke
Dry Mountain Forest: Moroto Mts to Turkana Mt. (Ug to
Dry Mountain Forest: Monduli Mts to Namanga (Tz to Ke)
These sites exemplify the three critical factors that
GEF belief as essential to approving a regional approach.
A shared cross-border ecosystem (the swamp forest)
Threats to biodiversity values coming cross border (the
Major lessons learned on biodiversity and its
conservation (E. Arc).
But to some degree, all sites show considerable linkage
to the latter two criteria.
Regionalism was seen at working at many levels, and in
Firstly, at the forest level and the village/human
population level who affect the forest locally, either positively or negatively.
People interact across national borders, and forests and forest components go
Secondly, at district level (and we see increasing
empowerment of district processes in all three countries). Districts have
mandates for conservation - and for conversion. They implement national laws,
and set local bylaws. There is a need for compatibility in district approaches.
Thirdly, is the national level; where policies are set,
and implementation modalities agreed and funded. Again a compatibility of policy
approaches is needed. These latter two levels give the "enabling
environment" within which this project operates.
And, lastly; there is the growing importance of a
formal regional level; synergised by the stature of the East African Community,
and the environmental articles of the East African Treaty.
The project is active at all of these levels.
Practice of Regionalism
The Inception Report set out a set of general principles. These were as follows:
Biodiversity is a sovereign issue, and this project is to be executed
nationally, it remains a single cohesive regional project, with a common goal,
common objectives, and a common strategy for implementation.
The importance of regional issues was recognized in UNDP and indeed at
the GEF Council. However, there have been concerns about what advantages
regional projects bring to actual on ground conservation. For example, the World
Bank GEF Unit in reviewing recent eastern Africa regional project concepts drew
attention to the difficulty of securing regional co-operation. We copy here a
positive note on regional projects from the GEF Council of October 1997.
the conceptual point of view we fully agree with the objectives of regional
projects. Arising from clear ecological necessities (trans-boundary ecosystems
or biological corridors) or from institutional opportunities (regional
institutional networks), in most cases the regional projects seem scientifically
and technically justified, and conceptually advantageous”. Comments from the
GEF Council Member from Switzerland, December 1997.
terms of project implementation it is necessary that :
All project technical issues
are assessed for their regional implications.
Activity reports are shared
with cross-border Districts, where relevant.
Time-tabling of activities be coordinated to allow linkages.
Field methodologies etc are similar to allow comparisons.
The East African Cooperation Secretariat is informed of our
The project attempts to operate within these
in this and other regions suggests that strong regionalism can only be built on
the basis of strong national foundations. That too is part of our regional
An immediate learning lesson came from a
project-sponsored workshop on developing regional approaches to the CBD
(Convention on Biology Diversity) in January 2000 - as a prelude to the Fifth
Conference of Parties. The project was keen to develop a set of regional
approaches, but discovered this was not possible until national approaches were
in place! We were too early, national positions had not been prepared!
The project supports regional interaction at site and
district level; but wants this interaction to be linked to real cross borders
issues of biodiversity; and not just a set of generalised discussions. Our task
in the past year has been to identify what are these specific cross-border
issues, and bring these to the discussion table (eg water abstraction by
Tanzania from Namanga Hill Forests). See section blow on local issues.
Growth of Cross-Border / Trans-Boundary Interest in Conservation
This project is not alone in working for the
conservation of biodiversity at regional level. There are many examples inside
GEF (eg Mozambique and Trans-Frontier Conservation Areas) and outside (eg AWF's
Heartlands Programme). The Biodiversity Support Programme (US) has produced a
detailed set of books looking at Trans-Boundary Natural Resource Management.
This project is too help develop a separate set of case studies at East African
in this Cross Borders Project
This is discussed at two levels in this note; national
At National Level
Details are given in the Annual Report of the Regional
Component; the year 2000 report is attached as an annex to this note. Four
issues are described here; focusing on the sustainability of regional activity.
This is followed by a discussion of two process issues.
Regional Training Programme for ICD Projects.
The concept is not just to offer training; but to
integrate the training within the syllabi and curricula of existing training
institutions in the region. Partnerships are being built with other ICDP
organisations (WWF and CARE), and with a variety of training institutions-
principally MSTC in Arusha and Makerere Forestry faculty. In GEF terminology;
the project has leveraged considerable support and mainstreamed biodiversity
into regular development courses. (See separate note on leveraging).
Policy and Economics Analysis.
The project works through contractual agreements with
two 'regional' institutions; ACTS and
IUCN-EARO; following an initial scoping or fact finding activity at all cross
border sites. The analysis leads not only to a set of technical documents; but
also includes training and a practical set of outputs designed as by-laws and
Supporting Regional Linkages
The Project and the East African Community
There is synergy and linkage between the EAC and the
project, as expressed by the Deputy Secretary-General at several recent fora.
The EAC provides political support for regional activity. The project provides
support to regional interaction; and provides examples of the advantages of
cross-border technical activity. The project sits on the EAC Environment
Committee, and provides technical advice and review as needed. EAC is
member of our project Steering Committee.
And, in terms of process:
Regional Interactions: The RTPCs (Regional Technical Committees)
These are the main technical discussion and approval
processes in the project. To date there have been 14 such RTPC meetings,
involving NPMs, NPCs, RTA, and increasingly FPOs and partners. The RTPCs approve
the development of regional activity; and builds linkage between project
components. Upwards; the RTPC decisions go to Steering Committees for
ratification. (See the minutes of RTPC meetings).
This is a major role of the RTA; and covers a wide
variety of interaction; including linkages to UNDP processes; technical
biodiversity processes (eg the Taita Workshop), information dissemination; and
facilitation. These are described in the Annual Reports of the Regional
Component, and in detail, in eg the Taita Workshop Report of Nov. 2000.
At LOCAL SITE LEVEL
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