Restoring degraded drylands and growing resilient communities in Kenya

Moving from the Paris Agreement to climate action is on everybody’s mind these days and transforming agricultural production to climate smart practices is central to the international community’s efforts of keeping the global climate well below 2C.

From Agreement to Action: Implementing African INDCs for Growth and Resilience in Agriculture” was the theme of the 2nd Africa Climate Smart Alliance Forum that took place in Nairobi, Kenya, in October. The Majority of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, or INDCs, submitted by African countries prominently feature agriculture and climate smart agriculture in their mitigation contributions. Climate change is now highlighted in most of African national development plans, also reflecting the African Union Malabo Declaration on agriculture transformation which was specifically about climate smart agriculture and the agriculture – climate change nexus.

The Forum was organized by the NEPAD Agency in liaison with the Government of Kenya and support from GIZ, FAO, IFAD and the NEPAD-iNGO Alliance on CSA. It was an opportunity to share experiences and galvanize action on the ground in Africa, following the adoption of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Among all these projects which were highlighted, one of the most interesting was this GEF/UNDP project to restore degraded lands and improve the resilience of communities in Kenya’s drylands.

Kenya’s arid and semi-arid lands (ASAL) are characterized by low rainfall, prolonged dry seasons and frequent droughts. Livestock Production is the main production system in the ASAL areas. The ASALs productive capacities continue to dwindle due to inappropriate land use practices that have resulted to land degradation. The areas also suffer from insecurity, poor infrastructure and limited economic opportunities. The impacts of climate change together with other challenges have caused persistent deficits and food aid.

In response to the above challenges, Mainstreaming Sustainable Land Management in Agro-Pastoral Production Systems of Kenya is a 5 Years (2010-2015) project borne of partnership between the Global Environment Facility (GEF), Government of Kenya through its Ministry of Livestock Development and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The long term goal of the project is to promote economic development, food security and sustainable land use practices while restoring the ecological integrity of the ASALs. Specifically, the intervention’s objective is to provide land users and managers with enabling policy and institutional capacity for effective adoption of sustainable land management (SLM). This objective shall be realized through enhancing ability of the local communities to mitigate impacts of climate change by adopting technologies that promote socio-economic resilience.

See SLM-Kenya website & photo credit.

See related GEF article by Jean-Marc Sinnassamy.

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