IUCN SUSTAIN-Africa: Driving green growth at a landscape level


African government officials, business leaders and civil society supporters will explore how green growth corridors in Africa can stimulate economic activity and alleviate poverty during several sessions being held at the IUCN World Conservation Congress this week in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Planning for green growth Photo: Marie Parramon Gurney
“By addressing the barriers and opportunities in designated green growth corridors, companies and communities can develop plans that address pressing local needs while ensuring long-term sustainable development benefits,” said Marie Parramon Gurney, the Regional Technical Coordinator for IUCN’s East Africa Regional Office.

lUCN is currently working in Mozambique and Tanzania, where the government-designated corridors have a particular focus on agriculture and forestry. Through the Sustainability and Inclusion Strategy for Growth Corridors in Africa (SUSTAIN-Africa), IUCN aims to integrate water, land and ecosystem management with sustainable business ventures to demonstrate win-win solutions for all of the stakeholders. Moreover, it will share local best practices with national and continent-wide policy makers to validate and scale up nature-based solutions.

Some of the key constraints and challenges that communities are facing, according to an IUCN analysis, include: the annexing of wildlife corridors for agriculture; expansion of monoculture farming that reduces canopy cover; increased demand for water by irrigation and other sectors; increased grazing and pastoralism; land rights issues compromised by poorly regulated allocations by government to large scale foreign investors; and increased agrochemical pollution resulting from commercial large scale extensive farming.

SUSTAIN advocates the implementation of climate and water smart agriculture at a landscape level to help communities promote social inclusiveness, gender equity and environmental sustainability. However, in order to be effective, strong collaboration between smallholders and investors as well as local communities and national ministries, is needed to ensure long-term benefits for people and nature.

For example, in Tanzania, SUSTAIN works closely with the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) initiative, a Public Private Partnership dedicated to ensuring food security and socio-economic transformation, as well as with local partners on the ground, such as African Wildlife Foundation and the Dutch development organisation SNV.