Restoring landscapes and livelihoods across East and Southern Africa
Location & Region: Kenya, Ethiopia, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia/ Africa
Partner: Global Evergreening Alliance
Area and sector: Rural/ restoration
The Global EverGreening Alliance launched its flagship project Restore Africa, in 2021 at COP26. Together with financial institution, Climate Asset Management, a US$150 million finance package into a carbon program to restore trees and livelihoods across six African countries was announced with the objective to enhance the livelihoods of 1.5 million farming families and restore around 1.9 million hectares of degraded agricultural land across six countries – Kenya, Ethiopia, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.
“It demonstrates a new model for funding large-scale development initiatives, which puts the people directly impacted by climate change first, and in the process, creates more resilient landscapes,” said Chris Armitage, CEO, of Global EverGreening Alliance.
The Global EverGreening Alliance partnered with Climate Asset Management to deliver financial support straight to the grassroots with communities receiving 45% of the carbon credits generated through the life of the programme. The Alliance has worked with its members to coordinate implementation across the six countries, ensuring a diverse range of expertise, experience and knowledge. Together with grassroots organisations, local communities are at the heart of the programme.
“This programme is unique in that for the first time, smallholder farmers will be able to benefit from the sale of carbon credits directly released from the trees on their own farms,” said Geoffrey Kativa, Ag National Director, World Vision Kenya.
With rising temperatures, unpredictable rainfall, increasing desertification and rapid biodiversity loss, climate change is severely impacting African ecosystems. Short-term solutions are only exacerbating the problem; threatening the productive capacity of African agriculture and the rural communities that depend on it for their livelihoods. The United Nations Environment Programme has estimated that more than a quarter of the African continent is in the process of becoming useless for cultivation due to degradation and that a further 319 million hectares of Africa are vulnerable to desertification.
Evergreening practices transform landscapes by improving soil health, water availability and overall land productivity. Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR), in particular, is a proven and accessible model; protecting and managing naturally-regenerating trees and shrubs from roots and seeds that are already present in the soil has proven to be effective as a low-cost way to restore degraded land. Rich soil organic matter also enhances the landscapes’ ability to sequester, or capture, atmospheric carbon. Rehabilitating the land through Evergreening Agriculture can improve rural livelihoods while contributing to climate change mitigation.
In collaboration with its members and grassroots organisations, the Alliance is directly contributing to the transformation of agriculture into a climate solution. The programme empowers farmers and communities to fine-tune, and self-invest in practices, and to participate more equitably in local value chains and markets. Stakeholders have access to cost-effective investments and carbon emissions offsetting options that also have significant social and environmental co-benefits.
The Restore Africa Programme entered the implementation stage this year, after a very successful launch held in Kenya in May 2022, followed by the first phase of countries inception workshops held in Uganda, Malawi and Kenya. Workshops for the next three countries will be held in early 2023.