On 27-30 May 2019 around 200 actors engaged in talks to initiate and reinforce guidelines and actions on sustainable soil management and land governance at the World Agroforestry headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.
“Soil is a universal element for survival,” says Alice Kaudia, Founder and Executive Director, Eco-Entrepreneurs. Kaudia alongside Alexander Mueller, Managing Director, and Think tank for Sustainability (TMG) moderated plenary sessions during the 2019 Global Soil Week.
TMG organised the event, which discussed innovative ideas to create an enabling environment for sustainable and climate resilient agriculture in Africa. Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the World Agroforestry Centre, Groupe de Recherche et d’Action sur le Foncier (GRAF) and Centre for Training and Integrated Research in ASAL (arid and semi-arid lands) Development (CETRAD) supported the event. The International Land Coalition (ILC) Africa joined the event as participating partner.
The event explored how policy frameworks such as the African Union (AU)’s framework and guidelines on land policy in Africa, AU’s Malabo Declaration on Agriculture and its Agenda 2063 and the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals Agenda can work closely to make rural development more inclusive.
“There is an urgent need for inclusive settlement in sustainable land management in Africa to ensure food security of smallholder farmers,” says Mwangi Kiunjuri, Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation in Kenya, during his opening remarks.
Sustainable rural development is at the heart of ILC’s strategy. Recently, it has supported an initiative that advances sustainability. For example, in March 2019, ILC co-organised the International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists. Following that, ILC joined the global launch of Decade of Family Farming in on 27-29 May at the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) headquarters in Rome, where it discussed in different panels its work in promoting people centred land governance and in supporting pastoralism as a family farming activity.
At the Global Soil Week, ILC Africa members shared ideas, best practices and knowledge on land governance, one of the four themes discussed in breakout sessions. They shared insights on how to deliver solutions on land governance matters drawing examples from experiences in Ethiopia, Madagascar, Burkina and Kenya.
While Ibrahima Coulibaly presented the work of Réseau des Organisations Paysannes et de Producteurs de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (ROPPA) is doing in West Africa, Saydou Koudougou of Groupe de Recherche et d'Action sur le Foncier (GRAF) facilitated the group discussions on land governance. Josephine Seurey from the Kenya National Farmers Federation (KENAFF) and Violet Shivutse founder and coordinator of Shibuye Community Health Workers spoke for grassroots people.
The UN Environment, the FAO, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) are ILC global members who engaged in the event. Other themes discussed include finance and markets, extension services and local governance. Each thematic group designed a set of strategies that can foster development and livelihoods in harmony with the environment.
One thing to retain from the Global Soil Week is that soils are degrading at unprecedented speeds and bold, smart and inclusive strategies like the ones developed at the Week are needed to save our future.
The Glowing Soil Week Report: https://globalsoilweek.org/wpcontent/uploads/2019/07/gsw2019_outcome-report_ENG_v3.pdf