Solidaridad mobilizes experts for African Landscapes Dialogue

Beginning on 6 March, the African Landscapes Dialogue in Ethiopia will bring together over 120 landscape practitioners from all over Africa. This powerful exchange aims to connect people and build capacities across the African continent by learning from landscape initiatives in different countries.

A market for bananas in the Kilimanjaro landscape

What is a landscape approach? Read more!

Solidaridad colleagues who are responsible for the implementation of landscape programmes in Ghana, Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania and Ethiopia are preparing to take part in this event from 6 to 9 March at Gullele Botanic Garden in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. For Solidaridad Network, the African Landscapes Dialogue is an important event to take stock of current expertise and reflect on the Solidaridad landscape programmes which started in 2016.

Legesse Seyoum, Solidaridad’s programme manager for coffee in Ethiopia, is particularly interested in sustainable water use practices. “In Ethiopia, I am familiar with successful watershed approaches which aim to tackle erosion and protect land resources. With support from the government, this type of landscape approach is scaled to protect farmlands, water bodies, mountains, hillsides, forest and grazing lands. Such developments are critical for the livelihoods of small-scale farmers and Solidaridad is looking for social and economically viable landscapes solutions,” he said.

Solidaridad delegation

  • Nicholas Jengre – Land use and climate expert in Ghana, Solidaridad West Africa
  • Abdulahi Aliyu – Programme manager for food security in Ghana, Solidaridad West Africa
  • Julius Rono – Programme manager for sustainable landscapes, Kenya, Solidaridad East and Central Africa
  • Maria Sengelela – Programme manager for sustainable landscapes, Tanzania, Solidaridad East and Central Africa
  • Angela Mulenga – Programme manager for sustainable landscapes, Zambia, Solidaridad Southern Africa
  • Stijn van Geel – Country manager for Ethiopia, Solidaridad East and Central Africa
  • Legesse Seyoum – Programme manager for coffee, Ethiopia, Solidaridad East and Central Africa
  • Katie Minderhoud – Knowledge manager and learning advisor, The Netherlands, Solidaridad Europe

Diversity and expertise

As to be expected when taking a landscape approach, the participant list of the African Landscapes Dialogue shows a promising diversity of perspectives with representatives from community and farmer organizations, local governments, food and agri-businesses, NGOs and other stakeholders. For Solidaridad, the diversity of stakeholders and their respective expertise makes the dialogue an important event for knowledge sharing.

Solidaridad landscape expert, Angela Mulenga, is looking forward to increasing her grasp of landscape issues together with other regional landscape specialists. “As integrated landscape management is a fairly new concept in Zambia, there is limited expertise. That is why we can learn from countries around us and bring the experience to our programme in the Mazabuka region in Zambia. I believe that by demonstrating successful examples to government, private sector and CSOs how landscape management issues can be tackled will contribute to the sustainability and success of our work,” she said.

Livestock management in the Kilimanjaro landscape

Agribusiness in landscapes

Besides active engagement in country specific and thematic knowledge exchange, Solidaridad will take the lead in a working session tailored around the role of agribusiness in landscapes. The objective is to engage companies to think about their role and contribution in a landscape with particular attention for impacts related to land and water use as well as local food security.

“In Ethiopia, there is a lot of potential for landscape initiatives and I am interested to learn about these processes. The key question for me is: how to include private sector players in addressing landscape issues? Solidaridad has expertise in linking markets and supply chain actors, so we have a particular role to play,” said Stijn van Geel, Solidaridad country manager for Ethiopia.

Together with research partners in the Follow the Food consortium, Solidaridad will discuss information needs and explore what relevant tools or partnerships can help companies to better understand and deal with risks related to governance, infrastructure, supply chain relations and food security in the surrounding landscape of their business operations.

This mixture of internal capacity building as a team during the African Landscapes Dialogue and channeling the examples and expertise towards Solidaridad landscape programmes afterwards will carry the event above and beyond the four days of interaction in Ethiopia.

Follow hashtag #LandscapesDialogue for social media updates and workshop reports!

Conference organizers

The conference is hosted by the Horn of Africa Regional Environment Center & Network (HoA-REC&N) at their venue in the Gullele Botanic Garden in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Organizing partners include HoA-REC&N, the African Model Forest Network, EcoAgriculture Partners, NEPAD/TerrAfrica, Solidaridad Network, the Water and Land Resources Center (WLRC) and the World Resources Institute. Supporting partners include EcoAgriculture Partners, the Global Environment Facility, IUCN, the Netherlands Ministry for Economic Affairs, SwedBio, Solidaridad Network, and the World Resources Institute.